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Part IV. 










Benrg W. Sage 



■.4V>^..^/^.J • A.s//M//^.^.a.3i^.. 




Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 





Part IV. 







Census of 1901. 

Report of the Census of Bombay City. 

General Department. Bombay Castle, 

No. 190 lOtb January 1902. 

Letter from the Prop-incial Superintendent of Census Operatiolis, Bombay Presidency/ 
No. 6668, dated the Ist October 1901 :— 

" I have the honour to submit herewith six copies of Part I of the Census Report for the 
Town and Island of Bombay, being the historical narrative contemplated by the (Government 
.of India in paragraph 2 of their letter* No. 106, dated July 12th, 1900. As the remaining 
volumes of the Report will be shortly ready for issue, I refrain for the present from passing 
comments on the results of Mr. Edwardes' work. It is intended to issue Part II and the Tables 
during the present month." 

Letter from the Provincial Superintendent of Census Operations, Bombay Presidency, 
No. 7401, dated the 6th December 1901 :— 

"In continuation of my No. 6663, dated lOotober 1st, 1901, forwarding the first volume 
of the Census Report on the City of Bombay, I have now the honour to present to Govern- 
ment the remaining volumes and fo suggest that the complete Report may now be issued to 
the public. 

" 2. In bringing the results of Mr. Edwardes' work to the notice of Government, I 
would venture to summarize the special features of the recent census in Bombay City as 
follows : — 

(1) For the first time the enumeration has been carried out on the mofussil 
system instead of by the issue of household schedules. The greater supervision 
over schedule entries which the mofussil system permits seems to warrant the 
conclusion that the census of 1901 is the first really accurate enumeration of Bombay 

(2) The census was carried out at the height of the annual plagne epidemic 
which gave rise to special difficulties of a formidable nature. It is to the credit of 
Mr. Edwardes and his Assistants that these difficulties were not allowed to interfere 
with the progress of the enumeration on the night of March 1st last. 

(3) The requirements of the Municipality and Bombay Improvement Trust 
who were desirous of obtaining details of the distribution of the people by sections, 
circle, building, fioor and tenement and of information concerning certain structural 
classification of the buildings, have been carefully borne in mind. As a result the 
special statistics reviewed in the latter portion of Volume XI-A., Part VI, have been for 
the first time recorded and placed at their disposal. 

(4) In accordance with the wish expressed by the Government of India in their 
letter* No. 106, dated July 12th, 1900, a comprehensive review of the history of Bombay 
Town and Island from the earliest times has been drawn up. If the time allotted to 
Mr. Edwardes has not permitted him to deal at any great length with the latter period 
of the Island's history (it is to be noted that he wrote the whole of Volume X in the inter- 
vals of arranging for the enumeration of the Island and for the abstraction of the 
results), it may be observed that there are already in existence many books and 
records describing the recent history of the City, whereas the early period fully 
pictured by Mr. Edwardes in his interesting volume has not so far been adequately 

" 3. In concluding these brief comments I would venture to assert that Mr. Edwardes, 
with great personal energy and no little tact, has discharged a peculiarly difficult task with 
complete success. The ready assistance volunteered to him by private firms and individuals 
is satisfactory evidence of the skill with which the work of organizing the large staff of 
Enumerators and Supervisors was conducted. I trust that Government may be disposed to 
agree with me that for this and for the satisfactory conclusion of his duties Mr. Edwardes 
and his Assistant, Mr. P. P. WAgh, are entitled to great credit." 

Eesolxjtion.— Government concur in the remarks made by the Provincial 
Superintendent in the last paragraph of his letter No. 7401, dated the 6th 
December 1901. The thanks of His Excellency the Governor in Council should 

'Fiinted in the preamble of Govenuuent Besolntion Noi S926, dated the 27th July 1900, 
Genl 472 

be conveyed to Mr. Edwardes and bis Assistant, Mr. P, P. Wdgh, for tfce able 
manner in wbich they bave carried out tbe census of, Bombay City in circum- 
stances of an unusual and peculiarly difficult description. Mr. Edwardes 
sbould be thanked also for the care which he has bestowed on the preparation 
of his able and interesting account of the History of Bombay. 

2. Copies of the Report and of this Eesolution will be forwarded to the 
Secretary of State and the Government of India and copies of the Eeport willbe 
distributed to all Departments and the officers and others concerned and placed 
on the Editors' Tables when orders are issued in connection with the Report 
relating to the Presidency. 

H. O. QUIN, 
Secretary to Government, 


The Provincial Superintendent of Census Operations, Bombay Presidency, 
The Municipal Commissioner for the City of Bombay, 
The Chairman, City of Bombay Improvement Trust, 
The Private Secretary to His Excellency the Governor, 
S. M.' Edwardes, Esq., i.c.s. 

No. of 1902. 

Copy forwarded for information and guidance to 


Introductory Note 

Part I. — " Heptanesia"-— 


Chapter I. — ^Mumbadevi 1 

Chapter II.---Islam 22 

Chapter III. — ^Nossa Senhora de Espeianga 29 

Part II.— "The Island of the Good Life." Eleven Periods ... 42 


The reason for the appearance of this first, volume is to be found in a letter 
No. 106, despatched by the Government of India, Home Department, to the Local 
Government on the 12th July 1900. In the course of that letter the following 
words occur : — 

" For these reasons, and also in view of the fact that no separate report 
was written on the census of Bombay City in 1891, while the earlier 
reports are in many ways defective, the Local Government and the Cor- 
poration will doubtless desire that the report of the census taken in the 
first year of the new century should not only examine thoroughly the 
current statistics, hut should deal worthily with the history and growth of the 
City oj Bombay. Ample materials for such an account are ready to hand 
in the three volumes of notes and records collected by Sir -lames Campbell, 
and printed under the orders of the Local Government in 1893-94, &c." 

Now Sir James Campbell's materials roughly relate to the period 
1661-1800 A.D. only ; and it appeared to me that no history of the Island could 
be called m any sense complete, which omitted to deal with the colonisation and 
circumstances of Bombay during the three earlier epochs, Hindu, Mahomraedan, and 
Portuguese ; and which also omitted to notice the chief events of the 19th 
century. At the same time, the conviction that the first five mouths of my 
appointment would have to be devoted almost entirely to details of census ad- 
ministration obliged me to look about for assistance in tho necessary work of 
research. Three scholars of Bombay offered their services gratis, and undertook 
to study the period with which they were severally best fitted to deal. The 
names of the trio, who supplied the materials, which have been worked up into 
the form in which they are now submitted, are as follows : — 

P. B. Joshi, Esq Hindu period. 

Khsn Bahadur FazluUah Latfallah Mahooimedan period. 

Dr. Louis Godinho, L. M. & 8. ... Portuguese period. 

A certain amount of hitherto unpublished information is now supplied, of which 
the most important item, perhaps, is the identification of that early colonist Bhima 
Raja with the son of the monarch of Devgiri. The evidence, forthcoming from 
the careful labours of Mr. Joshi, is important, in that our Prabhus, Panchkalshis, 
Palshikar Brahmins and others are thereby proved lo have originally journeyed 
to Bombay from the Drccan, and not, as has hitherto been supposed, from Guja- 
rat. Th« British period (1661-1901) has been studied by myself ; and cannot lay 
claim to be anything more than a strictly chronological survey of the Island's 


past, and an orderly collation of statements already published in the works of 
the undermentioned authorities and others : — 

Sir James Campbell's materials. 

Maclean Guide to Bombay. 

Grose Voyage to East Indies. 

Fryer Travels in East India and Persia. 

Anderson English in Western India. 

Da Cunha Origin of Bombay. 

Murray Guide Book of India. 

Douglas Bombay and Western India. 

Martin The British Colonies, 

Arnold ... India revisited. 

Temple .'. Men and events of my time in India. 

Hunter Bombay, 1885-1890. 

Mrs. Postans Western India. 

Govind Narayan Description of Bombay. 

The Bombay Babdr. 

The Jan-i-Bambai. 

The Indian Antiquary. 

Asiatic Society's Journals. 

The Municipal Commissioner's Reports, 1864-1900. 

The Tims of India (Daily Issue) 1838-1890. 

I have to express my thanks to Messrs. T. J. Bennett and L. G. Fraser 
of The Times of India, for placing all the back files of their journal at my dis- 
posal ; and to Mr. Trimbak Atmaram Gupte, Head Clerk to the Collector of 
Bombay, for helping me to take extracts and quotations from various works. 

Finally, I would remark that, though lack of time has prevented the 
preparation of anything in the nature of a " Gazetteer," I have ventured to print 
this retrospect as a separate volume, in the hope that it may perhaps be con- 
sidered worthy of subsequent reproduction as a historical hand-book to the City 
and Island^of Bombay. 

S. M. EDWARDES, i.c.s. 
Bombay, 1st October 1901. 


of tJ)C 


{Rrproduced from a plan published in 1843) 
slmwing the chief local features introduced 
by the Hindu period. 



Island of Al-Omanis. 
Tamarind Trees. 

5. Shrine erf Hanuman. 

6. Bhandari Settlement. 

7. Dongri. 

8 . Tamarind or Chincti Bandar 

9. Holi Settlement. 
10.11. Clumps of Brads. 

12 Hohar(Cavel Wla^e) 

13 OrchardofJackTrees^, , , 

/^ Brab Trees. ^ ^Z';''^'^ 

ir oi M • With huts 

15 riantain-grove. i 

16 Koli holdings. 

n Garden ofoisyphusjujuba. 

18 Hill- Village or Ginjaum 

19 Shrine of Village Goddess. 

20 Four Channels orChowpatty. 

21 The Ladder orSiri. 

22 Babhul grove. 

23 Valheshvar's Temple. 

24 ShriBundi. 

25 Shrines of Mahahali Maha- 
-Lakshnii ^MahaSaraswati 

^ Grove of Hambal 

27 Brab Trees and Shrine. 

2d. Fields or Khets. 

29. HamletofibeNaga. 

iO. Fig Trees and Creek. 

31. GlumpofBhendis. 

52. Pya-D hun(,iheFop t Wash. 

33 Machcha-gaun. 

M Bhayas threshing floor-Village. 

35 Brab Trees. 

36 Shrine ofGhorupdev. 

37 Tamarind Dell. 

3d Parali Village, Shrine, and 

Settlement of Thakurs,Bhoisetc. 
39 Pnchly-Fear Tract 

41 Naigaonjnhabitedby Kolis, 
JIgris, Bhandaris etc. 

42 BrahmanSfttlement Hallof 
Justice. BhimaRaJa's Vadi. 
Temples ((Dwellings ofParbhus, 
Panchkalshia If others. 

43 Banian Trees(Vadala.) 

44 Simv o or Bounda ry Village. 

45 CityofMahikavati. 

46 Forest of Cocoa-Palms Mad 

47 ShrineafPrabhadtYi and 

48 Shrine^fVillageafHdlika^ 

49 HoliVillaae. 

50 Banian Grove 
5'! Khind or Breach. 

52^53. Portions of the district 
ofShashashtiorBB Villages. 

Draylm ir i-itho Ovv* PfU'tOiincoO/fice, foonn 130/. 



CTUfifl vuv aiy\diav rtva vdtju 

' Sow, then, soma seed of splendid words in honour of this Isle.' 



The earlj^ history of our Island of Bombay is sunk deep in the Night of Time. At inter- 
vals the h'ght of antiquarian research casts a faint beam upon the darkness ; a coin, an inscrip- 
tion, perchance a copper-plate grant or patent, is discovered, and published as evidence that 
some old dynasty was paramount in ' Aparanta ' ( the North Konkau ) during remote ages. But 
lack of material has ever been a stumbling-block in the path of him, who would give to the 
world a connected tale of the island's expansion. Scattered notes, wherein evidence of pre- 
historic trade-routes is confusedly mingled with the description of events occurring in Christian 
eras, are all that exist, to throw light upon the early circumstances of Bombay. Yet, orderly 
arrangement of such notes, combined with the introduction of any new material vouchsafed to us, 
may, perhaps, lead towards the result, which is set before us, namely, a chronological account of 
the island's growth and of the people that visited or colonized it. 

At the outset of a journey across dim centuries, it were pertinent to enquire whence the 
Island sprang. Was she, like Delos, a daughter of the sea, drifting before the waves and stress 
of winds, until Providence bound her fast to pillars of adamant for ever ? The geologist alone 
can satisfy our curiosity. After keen scrutiny of the land's configuration, of the various strata 
which overlie one another, and in view of the historical and unassailable fact that Bombay was 
originally — ^not one island — but seven separate and amorphous isles, Geology declares that the 
whole western side of the continent of India was subjected in prehistoric times to a protracted 
series of upheavals and depressions, that it vibrated like a quagmire, the vibrations diminishing 
in extent and force as the ages passed away. The varieties of strata, composing the islands which 
protect from the open sea the western shores of India, are in themselves evidence of a succession 
of titanic movements, which hurled these lands upwards from the very fire-bosom of Nature. 
From Sewri to Love Grove, Worli, extend some seven beds of stratified rook, abounding in 
fresh-water remains, and divided one from another by huge masses of trap, which indicate so 
many epochs of repose and of volcanic disturbance. Each fresh upheaval was followed by 
partial subsidence, the two movements combining to'give to the Bombay Presidency its present 
coast-line, and to the Island a haven of deep water, wherein the argosies of commerce might 
ride safely at anchor. Further evidence of prehistoric eruption and depression is furnished by 
the discovery at Worli of petrified frogs,* and of a submerged forest below the Prince's Dock. 
The remains of the latter, which came to light during the excavation of the dock, in the closing 
years of the nineteenth century, were 32 feet below high-water mark, and consisted of *' a thick 
forest of upright stumps of trees of a species still existing in the neighbourhood of this Island, the 
Khair (Arabia catechu). There were in all 382 trees, 223 standing trect and 159 prostrate, though 
still rooted in the soil. They were found on a decayed trap-rock soil, overlaid by the thick 
stratum of clay, whiqh forms the real bottom of the harbour. Among the trees, one was 
recumbent, charred in the middle, but bore no trace of having been cut down with any tool." 

• An issue of the Bombai/ Times of 1851 refers to the disoovery of foBsil frogs by Dr. Leith. 


From the date, tlaea, of her first birth in remote eternity, our island was shaken by terrible 
pangs,ofwhichtheearlie3tprobablyseveredher from the mainland of India, and the lates 
i-aised above high-water mark those localities which we now call Mahim and the Esplanade- 
and when the last birth-throe had subsided, and the hour of man's appearance drew nigh, s e 
^ho had once been a portion of the continent, undivided, lay in a cluster of seven islets upon 
the ocean's bosom. For many a year the Heptanesia, as old Ptolemy called them in A.P. 1 &U 
were destined to glance atone another across the intervening waters ; but the Frov.dence 
which decreed their original dispersion, willed also that in after time they should be once more 

-united by the genius and energy of man. 

Let us glance for a moment at the cluster of Heptanesia, the outward appearance of 
which is defined with tolerable accuracy in an old map, reproduced in the year 184o. -°"*^«^!;- 
mostofall lay a narrow tongue of rocky land, which we to-day call Upper Colaba : north- 
ward thereof, and in close proximity, was a small and almost triangular islet, known to later 
generations as Old Woman's Island, whence one looked across a wider strait to the south-eastern 
side of a curiously-formed land, resembling in some degree the letter H. The western portion 
was composed of one high hill, covered with rough jungle and running down m a P°™* "'*^° 
the sea : and the eastern side of low-lying ground, bearing tamarinds and other shrubs 
^t intervals, and menaced from the north by a rocky ridge, which subsequent ages termed 
" Dongri " or the HUl-tract. Northward, again, beyond a very narrow creek, lay a smaller 
and more amorphous island, part hill, part dale, whereon the cassia fistula and the brab were 
yet to flourish. Three distinct islands composed the northern portion of what is now the Island 
of Bombay. The middlemost, shaped like a parallelogram, lay desert; and was flanked on the 
west by a narrow and tapering stretch of rook, now the outer boundary of a Worli section, and 
on the east by a straggling island, trifurcate at its northern extremity, and possessed of a 
strangely broken coast-line. Modern research declares the formation of these seven islands to 
have resulted from the breaks, Caused by volcanic disturbance, in a pair of rocky ridges, lying 
roughly parallel to one another, north-east and south-west, and separated in the south by the 
reef-guarded waters of a bay, known to subsequent generations as Back Bay. Through the 
fissures and breaks in these ridges, the ocean at high-tide swept with unbridled force, and 
covered with his waters a considerable tract of low-lying ground between the islands. 

Such was the appearance of our island about the period when the earliest settler set 
foot upon her shores. Now for many years prior to the dawn of the Christian era, and., for 
some time, indeed, subsequent thereto, the seven islands had no separate political position, but 
formed an outlying portion of that kingdom which Ptolemy denominated "Ariaka," and 
«arly Sanskrit writers of the Puranio period called " Aparantak" or " Aparanta. " The earliest 
ruler of this territory, which is identified by the historian and antiquarian with the North 
Konkan, appears to have been the great king Asoka, grandson of t^e celebrated Chandra- 
gupta of Pataliputra, who founded the dynasty of the Mauryas. That Asoka, who reigned 
between B.C. 263 and 229, had communication with this part of India, is proved by the 
rock -inscriptions,* found at Girnar in Kathiawar, at Khalsi in the Himalayas, and at Shahabaz- 
garhi in Afghanistan : for they tell us that in the middle of the third century B.C., that 
monarch sent Buddhist ministers of religion to Eastikas, Pethanikas and Aparantas. Moreover 
the Buddhist high priest Moggalputto is mentioned in the " Mahavansof ", a Ceylonese 
chronicle, as having despatched preachers of Buddhism, in accordance with the king's orders, to 
Maharatta, Aparanta and Banavasi. Further proof that this province of Aparantaka, with its 
outlying islands, once owed allegiance to that great king, is aflforded by the discovery at Supara, 
ihen the capital city of the kingdom, of a fragment of the eighth Edict. 

Now the glory of the great cities of the coast — Sopara (Ophir), Kalyan, Symulla (Cheul) — 
was noised abroad among the nations of those early days. The hardy trader of old Egypt, the 
Phoenician, and the Babylonian in turn must have helmed their craft past the twin rock-ridges 

* Inscriptions of Asoka, Vol. U,, p. 84. 
t Tumour's Mahavanso, pp. 71-73. 

•of this jsland, on their way to barter with the subjects of dusky Majesties, whose names only have 
m some cases been bequeathed to posterity. The wealth of the cities- of the western h'ttoral 
suffered not decay, albeit their rulers changed with the changing ages. Some five score years 
ere the Magi fared forth in the path of the eastern star, which heralded the dawn of Christianity, a 
dynasty of Shatakarnis or Shatvahanas were overlords of Aparantaka, which erstwhiles flourished 
under the sway of Asoka. Thus much one may learn from the cave-inscriptions at Nasik, 
the longest of which records that in the 19th year of the reign of King Pulumayi, the cave was 
■constructed and dedicated to the use of Buddhist saints and mendicants by Gotami, mother of 
king Gotamiputra Shatakarni ! * Moreover, a silver coin discovered in a stupa at Sopara by 
Sir James Campbell and the Pandit Bhagvanlal Indraji in the year 1882, bore the legend 
" Banno Gotamiputasa, Siri Yanna Satakamsa," which being interpreted, means "This is the 
■coin of king Gotamiputra, Shri Yajna Shatakarni." This monarch, then, who is elsewhere 
described as " king of kings, and ruler of Asika, Surashtra (Kathiawar), Aparanta, Anup (to the 
north of the Vindhya range), Vidarbh (the Berars) and Akravanti (Malwa)t ," and as having 
destroyed the Sakas, Palhavas and Yavans, the last-named of whom are identified by Dr. Bhandar- 
kar with the Bactrian Greeks, | owned these Heptanesia as an outpost of his kingdom from about 
133 A.D. to 154 A. D.§ The dynasty, of which " he re-established the glory," and which is 
■termed 'the And hrabhrityas' in Puranic writings, and 'the Salivahanas' in local tradition, 
held sway for perhaps four centuries, until the rise of the Rashtrakutas of ilalkhed, and worthily 
maintained the commercial prestige of the kingdom. In their day, so the chronicles of Thana 
relate, the subjects of the Parthian monarch, Mithridales I, sought the marts of Aparanta, and 
witnessed the arrival of vessels freighted with all manner of merchandise — sesamum, oil, sugar, 
spices, even ' handsome young women ' of Hellas, destined to ' attend upon the king of the 
country ' and cry " Chareh " ( ^^'S' ) in his courts. For years, indeed, after the birth of Christ, 
the ships of the Greek, the Arab, the Persian and the Christian sailed between Egypt, Malacca, 
China, the Gulf, in a word between the World's ports and the Konkan kingdom. Merchants and 
sea-rovers of many nations must in that early Christian age have gazed from their decks upon 
our seven isles, perchance may have cast anchor for a space within their limits. But they settled 
not, so far as we know ; they came, cried ' Hail,' and passed away towards the rich cities of 
the mainland. 

It was not by the paths of the sea, but from landward that the earliest inhabitants of 
Bombay journeyed. At some date prior to the year 300 A.D., and prior perhaps to the Christian 
era, our desolate isles became the home of certain lithe dark men, calling themselves " Kulis " 
or " Kolis," which the antiquarian interprets to mean " Husbandmen. " Such is not the only 
derivation afforded of their name. The later Aryans, some aver, greatly contemned these early 
settlers, and characterized each member of the clan as ' Kola ' [a hog) ; othersjbolieve that they 
were ' Kulis ' or members of one ' Kul ' or tribe, even as the 'Kunbi' is member of a ' Kutumb ' 
-or family ; while another authority traces their title to the Mundar ' Horo ' or ' Koro,' that is to 
rsay ' Man.' The primary derivation, connecting the word with an old Dravidian root signi- 
i fying " agriculture," seems to us most fitting, in view of the origin of this people, as port- 
rayed in their physical characteristics. " The Kolis," remarks Dr. Gerson da Cunha, " belong 
to the Dravidian or Negrito type. The form of the head usually inclines to be dolichocephalic ; 
but the nose is thick and broad, and the formula expressing its proportionate dimensions is higher 
than in any known race, except the Negro." Admitting, therefore, that our earliest settlers 
were of Dravidian origin, it is quite possible that their title also was derived from a Di'avidian 
source ; a theory to some extent confirmed by the fact that, at the season of later immigrations 
into Thana, the Kolis almost certainly held the plain-country and were, as some of them still are, 
skilled field-workers. 

One would fain speak with more certainty of the date of their arrival on these shores ; 

but so remote, so shrouded in antiquity is the Koli Hegira from the mainland, that no definite 

^statement is permissible. It is probable, however, that these people, of whom there are many 

• Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. I., Part IX, pp. 149,150, J Bhandarkar'a Deccau. 

t „ „ Vol. XVI. (Nasik). § Ibid, p. 166. 

different tribes, spread themselves along the Western Coast smd peopled our then nameless 
Heptanesia in some dark age before the Shatakarni dynasty rose to power. Successive waves^ot 
invaders or settlers have advanced upon the Koli, have almost threatened to engulf him ; hat 
some natural sturdiness in him has formed his support. He is amongst us to this day ; has got 
those old Non-Aryan deities of his admitted into a Brahmanic pantheon ; has even borrowed 
from later settlors the idea of a pedigree ! The heralds' college of Brahrainism furnished him, 
doubtless on payment of some kind, with a metaphorical escutcheon, and hid the truth of his- 
lowly origin in a specious tale of descent from a Lunar Monarch. Among the most remarkable 
divisions of this aboriginal stock is that of the Son-Kolis, resident along the Thana coast, th^ 
prefix of whose name recalls the term-Shron or Son-Aparanta-used in the Buadhist legend 
of Purna of Sopara to denote the North Konkan, and may perhaps have some connection with 
the word 'Son' or 'Sonag,' which, on the authority of the Gazetteer, v^a^ the equivalent 
in Southern India of the term 'Yavan' or 'Greek.' One wonders if any bond was 
formed in those early days between the dark-skinned aboriginal settlers of the Thana 
coast, and the Greeks, who visited the land as traders or as captives of a victorious- 

The family of Son Kolis, however, is of less importance, so far as Bombay is concerned, 
than that of the Meta Kolis, who are declared to have been the earliest colonists of our Islands, 
and to have fished in these waters, tilled the soil and worshipped their primeval gods, long before 
a higher Aryan civilisation left its mark upon the land. In what localities precisely they built 
their scattered groups of huts, is somewhat difficult to decide ; but local nomenclature gives a 
clue to the position of their hamlets in subsequent ages, which may reasonably be held to have 
arisen on the site of original homes. They undoubtedly existed in the two Southern islands ;. 
which thereby acquired the title of " Kola-bhat " or " Kolaba," the Koli estate.* Immigrants 
of a later period gave the smaller of the twain a separate title, « the Island of the Al-Omanis, " 
or deep-sea fishermen, which was metamorphosed into ' The Old Woman's Island ' of the British 
epoch: but the name exists no longer in these days; both islands have, by the hand of man, 
been linked together under the one name, which testifies to their having sheltered our earliest 
settlers. In that straggling island, third in order as one passes northward, there are also traces- 
of an early home. Who does not know our ' Mandvi Kolivadi,' our ' Dongri Kolivada ? ' Their 
situation in these days is comparatively remote from the sea-shore ; for reclamation and 
engineering have pushed back the ocean, and left the sea-shore hamlets high and dry. 
But for centuries after the Kolis first dwelt in these islands, those hut settlements, now 
lost among the brick and plaster edifices of the twentieth century, must have been situated near 
the marge of the sea, which afforded them sustenance. The name of a street in the heart of 
modern Mandvi—" Daryasthan "—perhaps exemplifies our belief. Though lost to-day in the- 
rumble of bullock-carts, and the shrill chatter of the passer-by, the voice of the waves may 
once have sounded clear, claiming the neighbourhood as the ocean's portion. Further evidence- 
of their presence in this third island is afforded by the name of " Cavel," (the area now included 
in the Dhobi Talao Section), which the antiquarian derives from '' Kol-war," the Koli Hamlet. 
The hamlet originally covered the whole of the land now divided by the Kalbadevi Road into 
Cavel proper and old Hanuman Lane, and must have been a seaside settlement, whenever the 
waves at high-tide poured through the Great Breach, which divided the present area of 
Mahalaksbmi from the Island of Worli. For many centuries it was the first village, at which 
the traveller arrived, on his way from Dongri or the '' Fig-Tree Creek " (Umarkhadi) across 
the narrow strip of land which yoked the eastern levels with Malabar Hill on the west, and 
was also the home of the earliest converts to Roman Catholicism. In later years one " Munga,"" 
lineal descendant of original colonists, owned a " Bhat " or landed estate, on the road from 
Cavel to the hill-village (Giri-gaun=Girgaum) ; and the observant wayfarer of this twentieth 
century, who seeks Malabar Hill by way of Qirgaum Road, will remark upon his right hand, 
hard by the shop of Lawrence, the carriage builder, a " Mugbhat " (Munga-bhat) Lane, which, 
approximately marks the site of the old Koli's possessions. 

• Dr. G. da Cunba, " Origin of Bombay, " p. 64. 

Our Koli, however, was not invariably responsible for local nomeuclattire : in at least 
one instance lie seems to have borrowed a title from the physioal characteristios of his 
early dwelling-place. We have already remarked the Hill-traot on tJn eastern' side. of 
our third islan-l. Hindu immigrants of subsequent yeari cn,lled it " Dongri," and the people 
■whom they found settled aronnd it " Dongri Kolis," as if they wero ?ome distinct branch 
of the old stock. Modern rcs'iarch declares definitely that theywere identical with the rest 
of the tribe upon our islands, were simply Meta Kolis, living above their brethren on the 
low ground. 

A conviction that they settled also in the fourth of our seven isles is based upon the 
origin of the name " Mazagon," and upon the presence of a modern temple of " Ghorupdeo." 
Mazagon, which contains to this day a Koli-vadi or Koli settlement, owes its name, we fancy, 
to the pungent odonr of the fish, which its earliest inhabitants caught, dried and ate. Agricul- 
turists and fishermen the Kolis have been from time immemorial ; but those of them, that 
settled m the fourth island, found fishing more profitable than agriculture, and. became so 
wedded to the pursuit, that their home earned the title of " Machcha-ganv " or " the Fish- 
village." Regarding the shrine of Ghorupdeo, Dr. da Cunha tells us that. to the Koli of these 
<iays the presiding deity is generally known as ' Khadaka-dev ' or the ' Rock-god.' Now the 
Koli is primarily a nature-worshipper ; trees- and stones have even been to him provocative of 
thiat reverential wonder, which is the germ of old religions. To the early Koli of the fish^villag^ 
the rough boulders to northward must have been invested withi something of divinity V majr 
have seemed a likely abode for some spirit, and thereby earned his reverential regard. Subse- 
quent generations of his family borrowed the custom of building shrines and temples worthy of 
their deities ; wherefore we of to-day may look upon a temple of Ghorupdev, much patronised 
by Hindu fisherlblb. The modern shrine serves to mark the spot where the founders of the 
fish-hamlet strove to appease the Spirit of the Rock. In the three Northern islands, which 
have latterly been merged into the Island of Bombay, the Koli may also have made his home. 
There were Kolis of Moory (Mori) in Worii in 1747; there is to-day a Koliwadi in Mahim 
and another in Sion. The village which subsequently arose around the latter is responsible for 
the name of the whole modern section ; for, being situated at the extremity of the island's 
-triple promontory, it earned the title of " Simva " (fifl^) (=, Sion), " the boundary-hamlet," 
or last inhabited spot ere one voyaged across the strait to the island of the " Shashashti " 
(Salsette) or ' sixty-six ' villages. To the south of the boundary-hamlet, there may have 
arisen in time another hut settlement, the members of which were skilled in fashioning rude 
fishing-craft, numbers of which would he drawn up ashore during the rainy season. The 
«pot would have been given the name of '' Naigaum " or " the Boat-hamlet," being par excel- 
lence the home of boats. The name is with us to this day. 

Thus, then, during the dominion of the Shatakarni, while the freighted vessel of the 
merchant stole to and fro along the Thana coast, the Koli dwelt upon our seven islands and cast 
his nets into their encircling waters. One is fain to believe that he had communication with the 
main-land in that day, that he sought the din and bustle of the rich markets of Aparantaka. 
But no evidence exists of any communication between these islands and the kingdom of the 
main-land, until after the Shatakarni dynasty had passed away. 

About twenty years ago excavation brought to light two hoards of silver coin, bearing the 
legend " The illustrious Krishnaraja, the great Lord (or the worshipper of Maheshvara), who 
meditates at the feet of his parents. " The coins, which were found at Gavel in our island and 
in Salsette, lead us back to the spectral past, when the Rashtrakuta monarchy held sway in 
Manyakheta or Mulkhed. At what date the Rashtrakutas succeeded the Shatakarnis, and for 
Tiow long they ruled over the North Konkan, is entirely unknown to us ; but the presen^je of 
■the coins, of which couriiei-parts have been found at Karhad in Satara and also in Nasik, shows 
that from 375-400 A.D., the Northern Konkan, including our Heptanesia, were part of the 
dominions of the Rashtrakuta Krishna. Moreover, they show that by the year 400 A.D.,. our 
Koli was in touch with the busy life of Thana coast, and perhaps earned a scanty wage by- the 


sale of fish or by patchiiig-up the stomi-stramed vessel of the Sassanian trader.* Apart from 
its intrinsic value, the dramma of Krishnaraja appeals to us as the first direct evidence of Bombay » 
ccnnectiou with civilisation. 

From Krishnaraja onwards to the middle of the sixth century A.D., the talo of our islands- 
is involv( d in some obscurity. Much may be learnt of the Hindu of the mainland ; how he 
voyaged afar, outbidding the Arab and Persian in Afrio's ports, and settled in Persia, Alexan- 
dria, Ceylon and the fatherland of Hiwen Thsang. But that the peaceful and self-centred 
existence of our primeval fishermen was in any way disturbed, can be inferred only from the 
historical statement that Kirtivarmon, prince of the Chalukyas, who flourished about r)50-'>57 
A.D., invaded the Korth Konkan and defeated the Mauryas, who were then paramount therein. f 
Now the Mauryan dynasty, which presumably succeeded that of the Rashrakutas, has left behind 
it certain traces of its paramountcy. Whence, cries the antiquarian, did the Koli acquira that 
surname of " More," which he bears to this day, if not from the Mauryan dynasty of Puri ? 
The Koli Las always borrowed something from each new tide of settlers or immigrants ; and 
just as he acquired lunar descent from tl)e Brahmin, or a rude typo of Christianity from the 
Portuguese, so ho obtained a surname from the dynasty, which owned him as its subject in 
the sixth century. Again, where was the city of " Puri," that flourishing capital, described 
as " goddess of the fortunes of the western ocean ?" By keen analysis, intelligent inspection 
of old ruins, copper-plates and " oval seals of ligiit ruby-coloured cornelian " engraved with the 
word 'Narayana,' it has been shown that this reinarkable city was built upon the north-eastern 
portion of the Island of Gharapuri, ' a ilho ila Elephanle,' the Island of Elephanta ! From the 
writings of early Portuguese travellers it is clear that up to the 16th century of the Christian era,. 
the Isbnd of Elephanta was known by tho name of Puri, and that the names " Gharapuri " and 
" Elephanb " are of later origin. Garcia da OrtaJ, who visited the place in 1.534 A.D., remarks- 
that: " There is another pagoda better than all others, in an island called " Pori," and we 
name it the Island of the Elephant. There is a hill on it and at the top of this hill an under- 
ground dwelling hewn out cf a living rock. This dwelling is as largo as a monastery, and has 
open courts and cisterns of very good water. On the walls around there are large sculptured 
images of elephants, lions, tigers and of many human figures well represented. It is a 
thing worth seeing and it seems that the devil put there all his strength and skill to- 
deceive the heathen with his worship," Old Simao Botelho also records how "the Island 
of Pory, which is of the elephant, was rented in 1518 to Jcao Pirez for one hundred and five 

In the sixth century A.D., therefore, the early fisher-folk of these Heptanesia must 
have been in close touch with a higher civilisation ; for almost within hail of their rude 
villages, lay the capital of a powerful government, whose territory included probably all the 
islands of the Northern Konkan, a town of great importance and opulence, the " Lakshmi " 
of the •Kestern seas§, which excited the envy of neighbouring chieftains, and sent forth stern 
men-at-arms to battle with Chalukya hosts, that swept like an ocean across the islands. 

Though Kirtivarman defeated the Mam-yas in the middle of the sixth century, the 
sovereignty of the North Konkan was not wrested from them until tho opening of the seventh 
century A.D. It was Pulakeshi, the son of Kirtivarman, and the most powerful of all the 
Chalukya kings, who compassed their downfall. During his reign (611-640 A.D.) the 
kings of Lata, Malwa, Giirjar, Kanoj and Banavasi were brought into subjection ; and Cband 
Danda, his general, set forth with hundreds of ships, and drave the Manryas from Puri. Na 
material relics of Chalukya dominion over these islands have been bequeathed to us ; but, 
as in the case of tlie Manryas, so in theirs, a surname in use among the Kolis testifies to the 
influence which they wielded. " Cholke,'' which is directly derivable from " Chalukya," 
recalls to the mind that dim past, when the civilisation of an outer world had drawn very 
near our seven isles, commanding them to awake from their deep birth-sleep for ever. 

* T!(ana Gazetteer, p. iHK J Dr. Q. da Cnuha. 

t Cnnningham'B Archaological Puivey, Perort IX, p. -SO. § Burgess' Archseological Survey, Report III, p. 26. 

Passing onward from this date, and across the inarticulate gloom o£ the eighth century 
.D., we arrive at a period which exercised considerable influence upon the islands of Bombay. 
In alllikelihood, the Chalukyas held the mastery of this country until the advent of the 
Silaharas or Shelaras in A.D. 810. Twenty Silahara kings ruled in the North Konkan from 
A.D, 810 to A.D, 1260! They called themselves " Tagarpiiravaradhishvar " or "Lords of 
the glorious city of Tagar," and claimed descent from Jimutvahana.* Among their chief cities 
were Puri, the capital, Hamjaman (Sanjan), Sliri-sthana (Thana), Chaul, Lonad and Uran. Of 
Kapardi, the first of his line, little is known ; but an inscription (No. 78) in the Kanheri caves 
describes his son Pulakeshi as the Governor of Mangalpuri in the Konkan, and us tho humble 
servant of the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha, whence one may infer that tho Silaharas wore 
subordinate to the R-ashtrakutas. That Kapardi 11 was also a tributary is also proved by another 
inscription in the same caves. Jhanjha, the fifth king, is mentioned by the Arab historian, Mu- 
sudi, as ruling over Saimur (Ohaul) in A.D. 916 A.D.; while Aparajita, the eighth of the dynasty, 
appears from a copper-plate, dated A.D. 997, and found at Blier in Bhivandi, to have become 
independent, on the occasion of the defeat of -the Rashtrakuta overlord Kakkal, by t]jp Chalukya 
monarch Tailapa.f In a copper-plate grant of A. D. 1097, Arikesari, the tenth king, is described 
as lord of 1,400 villages in the Konkan ; and mention is made of Puri, Sbristhanak (Thana) andl 
Hamjan, as his principal cities.t Mallikarjuna, the 17th monarch, wielded great power, and as- 
sumed the title of ' Rajapitamaha,' ' the grandsire of kings I ' It came to pass that one of his 
bards journeyed unto the Court of Kumarpal, the Gujarat king, and there sang of tho glory of his 
lord ; whereat Kumarjial waxed wroth and bade his general Ambada marcti against the country 
of Mallikarjuna. But the latter worsted A mbada in battle and drove him back to Gujarat. Once 
again did Ambada make the essay with a stronger force ; and, having de.'"eated and slain " the 
grandsire of kings," returned in triumph to Anahilpura, the capital of the Gujarat monarch. 
Soma or Someshvar was the last of the Silahara line. He, by ill hap, had to face Mahadev, 
the king of Devgiri, who, in 1260 A.D., invaded the Konkan with a large army, consisting for 
the most part of elephants : and being worsted, he took shelter in his ships, and there met his deathf 
probably by drowning. Hemadri, the celebrated minister of Mahadev and Ramdev, records 
his death in the 17th verse of his ' Rajaprashasti ' : — " Soma, the Lord of the Konkan, though 
skilled in swimming, was with his host drowned in the rivei"s, formed of the humour that fell 
from the temples of the mad elephants of king Mahadeva. t " 

Who the Silaharas were and whence they came, is yet largely a matter of conjecture r 
but the ending ' ayya ' of the names of almost all their ministers, as, for example, 
Nagalayya, Lakshmanayya, which occur in their copper-plate grants, and the unsanskrit names 
of some of their chiefs, favour the view that the dynasty was of Southern or Dr,ividian origin. 
Other names which confront us are Anantpai Prabhu and Belala Prabhu, who are supposed to 
have been Kayasths, the ancestors of the Kayasth Prabhus of the Konkan. Howsoever it be, 
the Silaharas seem to have fostered colonisation and trade in the highest degree, and to have 
introduced into these sparsely-populated islands a social and religious element, hitherto 
unknown. Hindu, Musulman, Parsi, Persian, Arab, Jew and Chinaman, all visited and settled 
in the Thana ports in their day, or braved the dangers of the sea— and they were not few — for 
the sake of the sandalwood and ambergris of Socotra, the aloes, camphor and spikenard of 
Siam, Java and Sumatra, the porcelain of China, and the cowries and gold-dust of Sofala. 
Ten thousand Persians and Arabs made their home in Chaul : the Jew brought a living freight 
of women, eunuchs and boys by way of the gulf to Chaul, Sanjan and Sopara : thirteen Chinese 
ships " made of double firwood, fastened with good iron nails, and daubed with lime, chopped 
hemp and wood oil" passed the stormy months of 1292 A. D. in the harbour of Bombay. Nor 
were the Celestials the onlv visitors to our islands, 'there were sea-robbers and corsairs in our 

• An account of how Jimutvahana by his self-sacrifice saved his tribe from the oppression of Garuda or Wasnki is 
given in the Sanskrit drama " Naganand." 

t Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. I, Part II, p. 18. 

+ ^m mf^^^wt\ fJiP? ^Tii'i I ^m^i II 

harbour at the close of the thirteenth century, for Marco Polo himself saw them,— one o^^ 
mhnj bands of pirates, who harassed the coast-trade from Gujarat southwardg, and later gave 
their name to a hill and promontory of our island. 

Not only in the matter of conimeroe did the Silaharas evince their aptitude for dominion. 
They organised their land revenue also,, by creating large districts called ' Rashlraa,' whic 
were again subdivided into ' Vishayas ' and ' Gramas ' (villages). In charge of each village wa3 
a Pattakil or headman, which is the modern Patel. Further they constructed a ' Rajapath or 
' king's high road,' passing a little north of Bhandup and following the same line as the 
present road from Bombay to Thana.* 

That our seven islands and their hut-settlements must have been brought into closer 
connection with the brisk life of the Konkan cities seems to us inevitable ; and although no 
definite record of new colonisation exists, one inclines to the belief that our Koli occasionally 
met with visitors from among the many stranger people,' who flocked by the path of fie sea 
or by the king's high road to the territory of the Silaharas. To this epoch, indeed, we would 
ascribe the origin of the name ' Old Woman's Island,' now Lower Colaba. The derivation was 
for sometime doubtful ; all manner of speakable and unspeakable persons were . declared res- 
ponsible for the name ; until at length the compiler of the Bombai, Gazetteer solved the ndd.e, 
by suggesting that *' as the fishers of Mazagon fish solely within harbour limits, while the 
Oolaba fishers have their stakes in the open sea, the Colaba Kolis were known as ' Al Omanis, 
the deep sea fishers, from ' Oman,' the conjmon Persian and Arab name for the sea that washes 
Western India." The wOrd may Well date'back to this epoch of Siiahara dominion, when the 
Atab, on his way to plunder or to trade at Puri, visited the southernmost of our Koh 

Our conviction in regard to the existence of more constant communication between 
Bombay and the mainland is in no wise shaken by the remembrance that the capital of the- 
dynasty was in closest proximity to our seven isles, was in fact Puri or Elephanta Island, 
described by them as ' Mangalpuri,' ' the City of Prosperity,' and in the ' Kumarpal Charitra ' 
as-' Shatanandpari Jaladhiveshtite 't or ' the sea-girt city of an hundred joys.' Moreover with 
one particular portion of our island the name of the Silaharas is indissolubly connected. At the 
extreme edge of the promontory, which is known to late-comers as Malabar Point, they dis- 
covered a strangely-cleft rock, ' a fancied yoni, of no easy access in the stormy season, 
incessantly surf-buffeted. ' Being of Dravidian origin, they termed the spot " Shri-Gundi J " 
which has been interpreted to mean 'Lucky Stone': and to further mark the sanctity "of 
the spot, they, staunch Shaivites as they were, built a mighty temple, ornate with carven 
images of the Trimurti. 

The influence of the shrine and cloven rock upon all men must have been considerable, 
^rom the fisherman, with his ' rag-gods and pot-godlings of the tree ' to the aged yogi, with 
.rosary of Rudraksha berries, many an inhabitant of surrounding districts must during the Siiahara 
and later epochs have visited the temple, and, passing through the trees to the land's verge, have 
sought regeneration by the perilous passage of the yoni. Now the original name of the 
place was ' Srigundi ' • but some years later, the Brahmin priests attached to the shrine, 
invented for the greater glorification of the temple and the deity, a tale, which is responsible 
for the modern name of the locality, laying it before their public in the form of a Mahatinya 
or Panegyric. Rama, so ran the story, erstwhiles halted here, on his journey to Lanke, 
and made himself a'linga' of the sand of the shore; wherefore the deity whom we 
and ye rightly reverence, ."hall be called " Valuka Ishvara," "the Sand- Lord. " The 
tale found merit in the eyes of man ; and the place is called " Walkeshvar " unto this day. 

* Bovibay Gazetteer, Vol I, Part II., p. 21. 

t Dr. Gr. da Cuuha opines that '^hntanandpur is the same as Santapir, an old name for Elephanta, transform'id bv 
the Portngiieso into Santapon ; and saggests a connection between Shantipori or Shonitpur and Souapur, the site of a 
former English Cem'tery ner <Ae f resent Queen's Eoad— "Origin of Bombay," p. 32, 

X I fancy • LucVy Hollow ' would be a more correct t'-anslation ; for • Gundi ' is a pure Kanareae word, directly 
eonnected with the Telugu ' G nnde ' and the Tamil ' Kundi.' It means (a) a hole, pit or hollow, (6) the pit of the stomieh, 
< c) a large earthen or metal vessel. 

Some parts of Walkeshvar still conserve the calm of those old Silahara days. He who, 
leaving behind the bungalows of a modern oentury, directs his steps to the very foreshore, 
will find a little colony of Sanyasis, dwelling amid the tombs of brethren who have already 
passed beyond the bourne, and whose spirits call unto the living in the soft wash of the sea 
and the sough of the wind in old trees. 

The discovery of Shrigundi and the building of the temple seems to us to have been 
responsible for another landmark of the island. The stream of worshippers from the wide limits 
of the Konkan kingdom gradually formed for itself a pathway, leading up the jungle-covered 
slope^of the hill ; and, as that pathway was of necessity steep and narrow, later immigrants called 
it "RT^ "or 'the Ladder.' Some of us, who wander up the " Siri " Road from the Ohow- 
patty sea-face to the Ladies' Gymkhana on Malabar Hill, may well pause to remember that we 
are treading in the footsteps of old-world pilgrims to the shrine of Valukeshvar. The Silahara 
monarchs have passed out into the Night, the temple has been battered into ruins by the bigoted 
devotees of Mahommed or the Virgin Mary ; but the toilsome road, up which the worshipper of 
Shiva slowly clomb, is with us still, albeit smoothed and vyidened by the hand of the Engineer. 

The southern origin of the Silahara kings and those who follovired them to Bombay, may 
have eventually given rise to such local names as " Nagpada " and *' Agripada. " That the area, 
which we now know under the former title, was in any sense thickly colonised, is most unlikely ; 
for it remained, like Kaniathipnra, a swamp, liable to periodical flooding by the sea, for centuries 
after this date. But, as Sir James Campbell has pointed out, the sufiBx ' pada ' which means 
' a hamlet ' is closely allied to the Dravidian ' padu, ' and is one of the many words which 
suggest a considerable Dravidian element in the early population of the North Konkan. The 
worship of the serpent, which has prevailed in almost all parts of the world, may be responsible 
for the first half of the word. The story of our Mother Eve, of Apollo and the Delphic Python, of 
old Norse-god Thor and the great Midgard snake, of the Red Indian Manabozho and the serpent 
Meshekenabek, find their counterpart in India in tales of a race of Ndgas, semi-divine, whose 
women were handsome and sometimes intermarried with mortals. In the old legend of Purna 
of Sopara one catches a glimpse of the N^gas, so called perhaps on account of their devotion to 
serpent-worship. " Buddha," as we learn, '' while in Sopara, became aware of the approach of the 
Naga kings, Krishna and Gautama. They came on the waves of the sea with ' 500 ' Nagas ; and 
Buddha, knowings full well that if the Nagas entered Sopara, the city would be destroyed, went 
forth to meet them and converted them to his faith." It is not impossible thai the cult 
of the serpent, and the introduction of Dravidian forms of speech by the Silahara kings and their 
followers, have been primarily responsible for the title of that unhealthy locality, known to 
Municipal Officials of to-day as 1st and 2nd Nagpada. 

Concerning the name " Agripada, " we entertain more doubts ; for, although the suffix 
points to very old Dravidian elements, the Agris of Bombay themselves claim to have arrived 
here at a much later date than the Kolis and other non- Aryan people. The labours of anthro- 
pology, however, show that the Agris were settled in the Thana district in prehistoric times ; that 
they are on much the same social level as the Kolis , Kathkaris, Thakurs and other aboriginal 
tribes ; and that, notwithstanding their pretensions, their strain of foreign blood is extremely 
slight. Moreover, like our Kolis, they seem to have borrowed customs and nomenclature from 
later Rajpnt-named immigrants. The fact of their forming one of the prehistoric tribes of the 
Thana district in no way conflicts with the view that they entered our Heptanesia at a date sub- 
sequent to the Silahara era : but when they did come, and form a snaall settlement, the name which 
they gave it, viz., Agripada or the Hamlet of the Agris, testified directly to the ancient and 
non-Aryan elements within them. The precise site of their early hamlet is wholly unknown to 
us. It cannot, for the same reason as we have given in regard to Nagpada, have been directly 
situated in the locality now known as the Agripada district ; but it may have stood on some 
rising ground, adjacent to the drowned lands, and, after the latter had been reclaimed by the 
breach-stopping operations of the British period, have lent its name to a new and wider area. 
All one can with certainty say, therefore, is that the names of two well-known portions of modem 
Bombay are of non- Aryan origin, and perhaps testify to the influence which the Dravidian monarchy 
of the Silaharas once exercised over the mainland and the islands of the North Konkan. 


The Silahara opocli, then, was of some importance to our islands. Not only were ^ 
monuments of a higher civilisation erected within their limits, but a new life and broader views 
must have been vouchsafed to the Koli settler by the proximity of the capital, Puri. The main- 
land also was finding place within its limits for various races, who in after time se 
Bombay. There were Kayastbs, as we have before stated,, in the royal courts, the probable 
ancestors of our present Kayasth Prabhus ; the Persian and the Arab were living in Ohaul ; the 
Parsis were a power in Sanjan ; wliile the coast hamlet of Navagaum (in the Kolaba CoUectorate) 
had already received the survivors of that small band of the children of Israel, who, preferring 
the faith of Jehovah to all things, left their home in Yemen, and all their past behind themj 
whose descendants, prosperous and with monotheistic faith intact, are now dwellmg in our city. 

With Someshvar ended the dynasty ; and thenceforth the Northern Konkau was annexed to 
the kingdom of Devgiri. Mahadev, who defeated Someshvar, died about the year 1271 A.D. and 
■was succeeded by Eama Raja or Ramdev ; but neither of these monarcbs appeurs to have resid- 
ed in the newly-acquired territory. According to Dr. Fleet, CLE., (dynasties of the 
Kanarese districts), one Mahapradhana (chief minister) Achyuta Nayak was governing the 
province pf Sasati (Salsette) as viceroy of king Ramdev in the year 1272 A.D. -.while from 
one of the Thana copper-plates, published by Mr. Wathen, we find that in the year S^ka 
1212 or A.D. 1290, a Brahmin named Krishna of the Bharadvaja gotra was viceroy of king 
Ramdev for the whole of the Konkan. 

In the year 1294 A.D. Alla-ud-din Khilji of Delhi invaded the kingdom of Devgiri. 
Ramdev, who was wholly unprepared for attack, hurriedly collected some 4,000 men and endeav- 
oured to stem the tide of Musalman invasion. But fate was against him ; and having been 
defeated with his son Shankar, he was forced to sue for peace on payment of an annual tribute 
to the Emperor of Delhi.* 

Now the story of events subsequent to the victory of Alla-ud-din forms a most important 
portion of the history of our Island. It is universally acknowledged that, after the defeat of 
Ramdev, a certain Bimba or Bhima Raja established himself as ruler of the North Konkan, and 
colonised the islands of Bombay, and our first duty is to try and discover the identity of a man, 
who was the pioneer in the task of raising Bombay above the level of a mere fishing hamlet. 

An old poem, the Bimbakhyan, relates that King Bimbadev came to tho Konkan by way 
of Anahilvada in the year Saka 1216, that is 1294 A.D. f and halted upon the island of Mahim^ 
which he found almost uninhabited. So charmed was he with the scenery of the island, that he 
caused a royal palace to be built there, and also houses for the accommodation of the royal guests 
and others, who had accompanied him to tho Konkan through fear of the Moslem invaders of 
Devgiri and Anahilvada + ! With Lira there came from Palthan, Champaner and other places, 
9 families of Yajurvedi Brahmins of the Madhyandin Shakha, and G6 other families, that is to say, 
27 kulas or families of the Somavanshis, 12 of Suryavanshis, 9 of Sheshavanshis, 5 families 
of Panchal, 7 of Kunbis or Agris, I family of Dasa Lad, 1 of Visa Lad, 1 of Moda, 1 of Dasa 
Mods and 1 of Visa Moda. § Such is, in brief, the teaching of the old Marathi account of 
the advent of Bimbashah, in which the dates given are inaccurate, and the statements are 
occasionally so very conflicting that, unless corroborated by independent evidence, they can 
scarcely be accepted for the purposes of history. 

Now some authorities, notably the late Dr. Gerson da Ounha, believe that the Bimbdev 
or Bimb Raja here mentioned was identical with one of the Bhima Rajas of the Chalukya- 
(Solanki) dynasty, which reigned at Anahilvada in Gujarat : and Dr. da Cunha further observes 
in his " Origin of Bombay," that Bhim Raja of Gujarat after his defeat by Mahomed of Ghazni 
at Somnath in the year A.D. 1024 " fled from his country, and to make up for the loss in the 
north, marched with his colony from Patau into the South, and settled at Mahim. " 

* bomhdy Gazetteer, Vol. T, Part II, p. 251 ; also Elliot's Hlatory of India, VII, p. 77. 

t Note that this year 1216 exactly corresponds with the year in which Alla-nd-diu inraded Devgiri and defeated Ramdev 

vide Bimbakhyan, p. 108. 
t Bimbakhyan, p. 108. § Bimbakhyan. 


But, it is a well-known historical fact that, immediately after Mahomed of Ghazni had 
departed with his army, Bhima Raja returned to his country of Anahilvada, and in virtue of his 
devotion to Somnatha of Prabhasa, caused the temple of Somnath to be built of stones in lien of the 
former wooden temple, which Mahomed had destroyed ; that he later sent an army against and sub- 
dued the chief of Abu ; and that he reigned at Anahilvada till his death in the year A.D. 1064* 

Again, the authors of "Prabhandha Ohintamani" and '' Dvyasraya, " Jaiu chro- 
nicles of Gujarat, have recorded the most minufe details of the reigns of the Chalukya 
kmgs of Anahilvada : and had the conquest and colonisation of Mahim or the Konkan 
by this Bhima Raja and his Gujarat followers, actually taken place, they would scarcely 
have omitted to chronicle so important an event. At the hour of Mahomed's invasion, the 
Konkan province was under the sway of the Silaharas ; and a copperplate grant dated Shaka 
948, which is A.D. 1025, shows that Chittaraj was then lord of the 1,400 Konkan villages, that 
Pari and Hamjaman were his chief cities, and that the taluka of Shashushti or Salsette formed 
part of his possessions, f On the other hand, there is no record' whatever that any king of the 
Solanki house of Gujarat ruled over the North Konkan : and this is natural, considering that 
Kumarpal, who defeated Mallikarjun through his general Ambada, was the only monarch of that 
dynasty, who ever successfully invaded this country. It is indisputable that the Silahara 
monarchs ruled these lands until A.D. 1260, and then yielded place, in the jperson of their last 
king Someshvar, to the Yadavas of Devgiri. 

Thirdly, Bhima Raja II, who reigned in Anahilvada from 1173 to 1242 A.D., was so weak 
a man that he earned the soubriquet of ' Bholo,' the simpleton ; and the only reference made 
to him by the Gujarat chroniclers, shows that " his kingdom was gradually divided among his 
powerful ministers and provincial chiefs." Was this the man to colonise Mahira, to wrest the 
sovereignty of the North Konkan from powerful Silahara rulers like Aparaditya and his succes- 
sor Keshidev 'i We think not ! 

But who, then, was Bhimdev, who, according to old Marathi and Persian records, now 
in the possession of the family of the late Sirdesai of Malad, seized the North Konkan, made 
Mahi or Mahim (Bombay) the capital of his kingdom, and divided the country into 15 mahals 
or districts, comprising 1,624 villages ? 

From a Persian ' firman ' issued by Nawab Chand Khan, Subha of the province of Daman, 
and dated 901 A.H., that is A.D. 1495, we learn that " Bimbashah, hearing of the defeat of his 
father Ramadev of Dovagiri by Alla-ud-din, fled with the Rajguru Purushottam Pant Kavle and 
eleven Umr^os by the shore of the sea, and took possession of the fort of Parnera, and of Bardi, 
Sanjan, Daman, Shirgaon and other places. He thus obtained all the territory from Parner ta 
Astagar. He came unto Mahi (Mahim in Bombay), and divided the country into 12 parts, giving 
the province of Malad and some villages from the province of Pahad unto the Rajguru Kavle.J " 
The Bimbakhyan also records that the King gave the village of Pahad to the Raj-purohit 
Kavle, and the village of Paspavli to the Senadhipati and Kulguru Gangadhar Pant NSyak. 

* Bpmbay Gazetteer, Vol. I, Part I, pp. 16'J-170. 

t Ind. Ant., T., p. 276. 

X The descendants of this Bajguia Kavle are still at Malad as Fatela ; and np to the time of the Peahva Bajirao- 
they enjoyed the watan of Sirdesai and Sirdeshpande, aa will be seen from the following letter written by the Governor 
of Bombay to the Peshva : — 

" Bombay Caitle, March 6th, 1734, 

To the lUnstriouB Bajirao Pandit Pradhan, Prime minister of the most excellent Shahu Eaja, John Horn, President 
of India, Persia and Arabia, by the most illustrious English Company Governor and Commander-General of the Island and 
Castle of Bomhay and all its dependencies by His Most Serene Majesty of Great Britain, whom God preserve, sends him 
greeting. I have received yonr letter of the 3rd instant in which yon say that Antaji Baghnnath, yonr servant, had every ' 
claim 10 an Inam which from antiquity (his forefathers) had enjoyediu the Portngues« territories, granted by the aucienc 
Emperors of Hindustan aild afterwards confirmed by the Kings of Portugal, and continued by the Viceroys of Goa (in proof 
of which) he bad several documents ; t>nt that the said Antaji Baghnnath having been accused before the tribunal of the 
Inquisition, craves your protection, and therefore yon desire that the Said documents be examined in out Court of 
Judicature, where if they are found to be true, an intimation may be made to the Portuguese to abide by what may be 
reasonable, to which I beg to reply : Thai you are aware that the decision of such claims rests solely with the Government 
that granted the Inam and that no other (Government) can interfere ; and this being bo, it is useless for the said Antaji 
Baghunath to justify his claims in any tribunal, nay for any Government to interfere with its authority or request, if the 
Kkid Astajin Baghunath ia accused before the Inquisition, over which the Boyal authority itself has no power. I hope yon 
will command me in soma other bnsines!!, in which I may be serviceable (to you)." 


Now, as Mr. Fleet's ' Kanarese Byaasties' proves, the Nilyak family was in high favour 
with the Devgiri monarchy ; for in A.D. 1272 Mahapradhan Achynt N^yak was riamdev s 
viceroy in the province of Salsette. 

Secondly, there is in existence a Persian patent, bearing the seal of Mahomed Dahl, 
Dewan of Sultan Ala-ud-din of Bedar and dated the first year of the accession to the throne, 
that is about the year 1436 A.D., which shows that " in the Salivahan era 1212 (A.D. 1290) 
Raja Bimbashah, having taken the ownership and possession of the country from the hands 
of ' Karson', kept it for himself. The country contains fourteen Parganas from the jurisdiction 
of Saratbhata to the limits of Daman. At the same time, the office of Sirdesai and Sirdesh- 
pande was under the control of Govind Mitkari. The said Mitkari lived for 3 years in the 
reign of Raja Bimbashah.* " 

From the early history of the Decoan, we already know that in the Shalivahan Shaka 
1212, a Brahmin named Krishna of the Bharadvaja Gotra was the viceroy of King Ramdev 
in the North Konkan ; and we cannot help being convinced that the " Karson " of the Patent 
from whom Raja Bimb took possession, was identical with that Krishna. 

Lastly, a D^napatra, or grant of the rights of Rirdesai and Sirdeshpande, made by king 
Bimbdev to his Rajguru Purushottam Kavlein the year Shaka 1221 (A.D. 1299), shows that the 
province of the Konkan contained 14 Parganas or districts, and 2 Kashas or sub-districts and that 
the island of Mahim (Bombay) was called a Pargana, containing 7 hamlets, t It further states 
that " In the month of Magh Shaka 1220 (A.D. 1298) Mahar^jadhir^ja Bimbshah purchased from 
Changunabai, widow of Govind Mitkari, the watan of Sirdesai and Sirdeshpande in the provinces 
of Malad, etc., for 24,000 Rayals ; and after keeping it in his possession for one year and three 
months, presented it as a religious offering to his spiritual guide Purushottam Kavle of the 
Bharadvaja gotra, on the occasion of a Solar Eclipse in the dark half of the month Vaisakh in 
the Shaka year 1221 (A.D. 1299), and in the presence of an assembly consisting of the Prime 
Minister Madhavrao Shrinivas, Chitnavis Chandraban Parbhu, Patangrao Nyayadhish, and 
others, merchants, mahajans and Jamindars.J" 

The above evidence leads us to the conclusion that our king Bhimdev, who died in the 
Shaka year 1225 (A.D. 1303) § and was succeeded by his son Pratapabimba or Pratapshah, was 
none other than Bhima Raja, the second son of king Ramdev of Devagiri. It was a common 
custom among Hindu princes, whenever they found their lives or kingdom in danger, to send^ 
to a place of safety a scion of the royal house, in order that the " Vansha ' ' or royal line might 
not become extinct : and it seems to us probable that Ramdev, seeing his other son Shankar over- 
powered, and being surrounded by the advancing army of Ala-ud-din, took the precaution of 
despatching his second son Bhimdev to the Konkan, which had up to that date been free from 
Moslem attack, and was indeed in the guardianship of Krishna, a viceroy of his own choosing. - 

With the advent of Bhimdev and his followers begins the history of the growth and 
colonisation of Bombay. The island of Mahim upen which he settled, had, previous to his arrival, 
been known as ' Newale ' or ' Baradbet ' (the desert island) ; one of a group of isles, sparsely peopled 
by families of Koli fishermen and other low-castes, overgrown with babul trees, and dowered with 
a fine temple of Valkeshvar and a shrine of the ancient goddess Mumbadevi. Here Bhimdev 
stayed and builded a fair city of temples and palaces, for himself and his followers, which he called 
* Mahikavati ' (Mahim). Those that accompanied hira upon his journey belonged, according to 

* Appendix No. VI in Vaidya'B Account of the Ancient BrahminB of the Notth Konkan, p. 36. 
t The detailB are as follows :—Talnka Malar conBisting of 57 villagee, Taluka Karol of 57; Perganaa Mahim 
(Bombay) of 7, Uran Bhorgaon of 9, Panch Nad of 65, Kbairan of 45, Eaman Khanch of 65, Sayban of 84, Manoii of 84 
Aseti of 84, Mahim of «4, Mahah of 27, Tarapur of 364 ; Kashas, Vasai of 12, Sopara of 16 ; Ptaot Sanje and Kamhan 
of 574. 

J The original oT this Danapatra is now in the poBBesBion of the descendants of the Rajgum Family at Alalad ' 
»icfe Vaidya'B Account, Appendix, p. 8. 

§ Vide S, Nayak'e History of the Pattane Prabhns, p. 59. TTiis appears to be a veiy short period for all the 
Improvements, etc.) attributed to Bimb Baja. 


Sniied r.T. -rr^'P^''^ '^'"^'''^'^ °^«^ *»- f-°« "f the Heptanesia, throve, 
ZS;l; . r*^ "''^'^ .'^t ^^ P^^^^'"^ •-^■^ «^'^*«-«' *at ««« f^m other countries, both 
Brahmins and trader., came thither also, seeking the shelter of Bhima's rule. 

inflnv nf '' ^"?^^. '" ^'' " ^"""^'' °° *" O^'^^^' ^^"^s °f Bombay" observes that the great. 
dTr fL M^'T ^' . ""'*'' """^ '"""' ^°*° ^""'^^J^' '"'^y b« t'^^ced to certain events which ren- 
der he political and commercial history of the island a living record ; and that by studying 
ne r recoi-ds, traditions, usages, origin, and meaning of the names of localities, and especially 
eir janguages, one may fairly come at certain conclusions regarding the history of this island 

a^Kl Its dependences, particularly Salsette. Now of the four main classes that accompanied 
rsmmdev, the foremost, whereof the historian makes mention, is that of the "Prabhus" or 
ords — a noblesse of commerce and politics, one might say, with " the grand thaumatnrgic 

tacujy of thought in their head." These were they who aided their ruler to build the 
temp e to his family deity, Prabhavati or Prabhadevi,- to divide the dependencies of 
iviahikavati into mahals or districts, and pakhadis or hamlets, who watched the growth 
ot the kmgdom, fostered trade, settled disputes, and generally presided over the course 
ot public affairs. With the Parbhus came also their ministers of religion, men who could 
read the stars, and knew much of sickness and the healing virtue of herbs. They belonged 
to the Madhyandin Shakha of the white Yajurveda and were in after time called 
f aishikar Brahmins, from the village of Palsawli, in which they made their home. These 
were the priests of the people ; and doubtless gained many a convert among the 
aboriginal worshippers of Rook and Tree, by investing their rude deities with greater 
majesty. The legend also talks of the arrival of certain Sheshavanshis or " Bhandaris, " 
a title derived from the Sanskrit " Mandarak," ' a distiller f.' Concerning these men,, 
some doubt exists ; for, in the words of the Bombay Gazetteer, " their strain of late 
or foreign blood can be but small," " among some the remembrance of a hurried flight 
from the south still remains," and ''they seem to be Agris with a larger share of foreign 
blood. " Now the Agris claim allegiance to Bhimdev, stating that they came to Bombay from 
Mungi Paithan with Bhima Raja, the son of Rama Raja ; but, considering their position relative 
to other old communities of the Thana district, one inclines to the belief that some of them may 
have been resident in the Heptanesia, prior to Bhimdev's arrival. That being so, it is not im- 
possible perhaps that the Bhandari or Palm-juice-drawer of Bhima's retinue, mingled and in 
time intermarried with the women of an aboriginal stock, giving birth to a race of " Agris with 
a larger share of foreign blood. " Howsoever it be, it is to the Bhandaris and their offspring 
that we owe our plantations, and the name and locality of " Munmala," which includes the 
modern Mahim woods : for "Munmala" is simply "Madmala" or "the Orchard of Cocoa- 
palms." Together with the Vadvals and Malis, husbandmen and gardeners, who also arrived at 
this epoch, the Bhandaris initiated cultivation in our seven islands, introducing many of those 
fruit and flower-bearing plants that have lent their names to portions of modern Bombay. Nor 
were there wanting warriors and craftsmen for the more complete foundation of Bhima's polity. 
The Somavanshi Kshatriyas or Panchkalshis also came in the king's wake, a numerous class that 
has earned an undying reputation for hard work. Panchhahhi ani kon mhanel alshi, " who can 
call a Panchkalshi idle ? " so runs an old saying, testifying to the stout hands and hearts of our 
early colonists. 

We may pause for a moment at this juncture to see what historical inferences, if any, 
can be drawn from the language, or usages of these early castes and communities. Though 
the language, nowadays spoken by the Prabhus, Panchkalshis and Bhandaris, is MMrathi, their 
home-tongue contains a large percentage of -Words borrowed from the aboriginal settlers, the 
Koli and the Agri. The Palshikar Brahmins, being by reason of their religious duties socially 

S. M. Nayek's History of the Prabhns, pp. 60-59. 
f " Among the Bhandaris were certain ' Bhonple's,' or Sirdars of the Community. They were the ^heshavanshi 
followers ot Bhima Kaja, were soldiers and petty officers in his army, and had the privilege of playing the ' Bhungli ' or 
bugle. The actual occupation of the island by the BhongWs took place during the period of Mnssain-an domininn. They 
held the city for about 8 years having usurped possession of the island from the Mahommedans."— (Mi. P. B. Joshi). 


and intellectually superior to the other castes, and being also in constant touch with re igioug 
Sanskrit literature, have, not introduced into their home-speeoh so large a proportion o 
aboriginal words and phrases. And yet, even in their case, the language spoken by the oldes 
of their females differs widely from modern Marathi ; and resembles, in truth, the langttage pre- 
valent in the Deccan in the thirteenth century of the Christian era. Pick out, for example, from 
the ' Dnyaneshvari ' or some similar old Marathi work of the thirteenth century, a few words 
of pure Marathi origin which might now be considered obsolete or out of use, and ask an 
uneducated old lady of this Brahmin community whether she understood any of them. 
Not only will she be found to understand thom, but to have actually used them in her 
conversation, until the chiding of an educated daughter or daughter-in-law bade her discontinue 
the practice.* 

The language, therefore, spoken hy the highest of the communities that journeyed hither 
with King Bhimdev, does not differ greatly from that in vogue in the Deccan at the time of the 
migration of the king and his followers to the Konkan. The cause of the phenomenon la 
obvious. Bhimdev's successor did not reign long in Bombay ; for in the middle of the fourteenth 
century, Moslem rule was firmly established in the ishmd, and remained unchanged till the 
advent of the Portuguese. After the Portuguese came the early period of British dominion; 
and during the whole epoch, from Musalman to British rule, the people were practicallv cut off 
from all intercourse with their brethren in Deccan, and had consequently no opportunity for 
improving their language, which has thus preserved the character which it possessed at the hour 
of the exodus. 

The traditions of the Prabhus, Panchlialshis, and their priests the Palshikar Brahmins, 
•distinctly favour the theory that they came from Paithan with king Bhimdev, the son of 
Eamdev, Raja of Devgiri at a time when the city of Devgiri was besieged by Ala-ud-din 
Khilji, Emperor of Delhi ; and their view finds support in the old Marathi and Persian records 
■which some of them possess. 

It remains to notice any impressions, left upon our Island to this day by Bhimdev's 
Hegira. The aboriginal settler had lormed hut-settlemenls within her limits, and raised rnde 
shrines to Khadakadev ; the Silaharas had built now tem})les and taught the Koli and Agri 
customs of a hijfher order ; ihe immigrants from Devgiri built a capital city, introduced cultiva- 
tion, built more temples, and made our islands the heail-quarters of a kingdom. Previously, 
Bombay had been merely an appendage of ' Pui-i ; ' Bhimdev deserted ' Puri ' and raised Bombay 
to the position of a capital under the title of Mahikavati or Mahim. 

Among the most noteworthy legacies of his rule were the special privileges or rights, 
which many of the castes, that came with him, enjoyed till quite a recent date. Look for 
example at the following patent of Governors Wyborne and Child, the original of which is at 
present in the joint possession of Chintaman Balambhat !Naik and Nilkanth Vithal Padhye, 
the hereditary priests of Mahim : — 

" Whereis Kashioath Gambha Naique, Vithal Naique and Bana Paddia of 
Mahim, Brahmins, have for many years past been granted the office of Brahmins in 
tile township of Mahim, and its jurisdictions, in performing the rites and ceremonies 

•The following are a 

few words of the kind mentioned :— 

Old Marathi. 

Current Marathi, 

English meaning. 


Uchaii e, 

To raise np. 


















To see. 




Sha-. ala, 




UriayaB ale, 

Came to Uglit, dawned, 





Shipai or cbakar, 

Sepoy or Servant,— (Mr. P. B. JobW.) 


of marriage, aJministering physio to the sick, and doing and performing all other 
ceremonies relating to the said office, as appears to me by several orders, I have 
thought fit and do hereby order you the said Kashinath Naique, Vithal Nalque and 
Bana Paddia, to continne in the said office of Brahmins, giving full power to act in 
the same and to perform all the rites and ceremonies of marriage, and to administer 
physic to the said inhabitants of the town of Mabim and its jurisdictions, prohi- 
biting all persons whatsoever from molesting or disturbing you in the execution of 
the said office upon any pretence whatsoever." 

Given under my hand and sealed with the seal of the Court of Judicature of 
the Island of Bombay, this 22nd of August, Anno Domini, 1685. 



" I do hereby confirm and ratify Cassinath, &c., Brahmins in their offices, in order- 
ing all the respective inhabitants of Mahim to pay a dutiful respect suitable to 
their employs. " 

Bombay, this 29th October 1686. 


" Upon the request of the within-named persons this is confirmed upon them." 
Bombay Castle, 22nd June 1689. 

(Sd.) J. CHIT.D. 

Again, there is to this day in the village of Naigaon, which lies between Vadala and 
Parol, a spot known to the villagers as "Bhima Raja's Wady." At present the place is occupied 
by the ' Arshe Mahal ' or Mirror Palace of Jivanlal Maharaj : but local tradition, prevalent 
among the descendants of Bhim Raja's followers, declares that here stood of old one of the two 
palaces, built by that king, the principal seat of '' Nyaya " or justice. The second palace was at 
Khcda, Lower Mahim. Now hard by the halls of justice were quarters reserved for the use of 
the Raj-gurn or royal preceptor, and other Brahmin followers, which earned the title of ' Brah- 
man All ' or ' Baman-Ali,' the street of the Brahmins. This is the origin of the name 
" Bamnoli," which clings to the spot unto this day. 

Those well-known names 'Thakurvadi ' and ' Bhoivadi ' also date from this epoch ; for the 
Thakurs, Bhoirs, and Gawands were three recognised divisions among the lower classes of Bhim- 
dev's retinue. The Thakurs were the petty officers of his army ; the Bhoirs or Bhois were hia 
palanquin bearers ; and both have left the legacy of thoir name to the locality in which they 
made their home. The Prabhus settled in the vicinity of the old temple of Prabhadevi, which 
was, in A. D. 1519, razed to the ground by men, who for about a century and a quarter waged a 
fruitless battle against the old deities of Bombay. Fruitless indeed ! For in the dark half of 
Vaisakh, full seventy-eight years after the sceptre had departed from the men of Portugal, 
Prabhavati appeared in a vision, and bade the Prabhu brotherhood build a new temple ia her 
honour. Thus, there is to-day in the Mahim section, a shrine of Prabhadevi ; and the four-armed 
goddess still watches over the descendants of the first settlers. 

The Somavanshi Kshatriyas or Panchkalshis formed a colony in what is now Parel. 
Dr. da Cunha, following the teaching of the Gazetteer, and on the analogy of other place-names 
in the island, informs us that the origin of the name Parel is traceable to the existence of a plant, 
the Bignonia Suaveolens, or Tree-Trumpet ITlower, which is known in the Hindu tongue as 
" Padel." We venture to put forward an alternative, and equally plausible, derivation. The 
early history of our island is, as Dr. da Cunha remarks, closely interwoven with the history 
of its temples ; and it is admitted by all that, some time after Bhimdev's immigration, 
a Parbhu named Mankoji founded a shrine in Parel village, and perpetuated his name in the 


title of the deity, who is known as "Mankeshvar" or Mankoji's god in these days. It is 
extremely unlikely that the J'anchkalshis should have possessed no shrines, peculiar to their 
community. Moreover, it is stated as a fact, that they built tliree temples under the patronage 
of the Raja, two for their family deities Wageshvari and Chandika, and a third to Mahadev. 
Now the " ling " of this Mahadev is said to be " Swayambhu " or non-artificial, and was therefore 
held to be of equal importance and sanctity with the celebratad " ling " of Vaijanath at Parali 
in the Deccan. Therefore the third temple, which the Panchkalshis built, was called the 
shrine of Parali Vaijanath Mahadev ; and as the deity's title was Vaijanath Mahadev, the first 
portion of the title was given to the village, in which his temple stood. The present temple of 
Mahadev, which is stated to rest on the exact site of the original temple, stands in the middle 
of the « Parali," " Paral," or " Parel " village. 

The memory of Bhima Raja the Good, the Benefactor of Bombay, has not entirely 
departed from among the children of men. The villagers have deified, and still worship him : for 
in that Oart, called by them Bhima Raja's Wady, and by others the * Arshe Mahal,' the descend- 
ants of old Bhois and Thakurs have set up a black stone, representative of the king, besmeared 
with red ochre and adorned with flowers, to which they offer, at certain seasons, milk, 
butter, fruits, and even goats and fowls. Till quite a recent date, an annual ' jotra ' or fair, 
at which animals were sacrificed, was held in his honour • but the new Maharaja, owner of the 
Oart, a strict Vaishnav, forbade the custom, advising the people that the feeding of Brahmins was 
a surer method of pacifying Bhima Raja's spirit than the slaughter of dumb creatures. We like 
the idea, prevalent among the uncultured denizens of Parel, that the spirit of the old monarch 
still haunts, still watches over, the lands for which he did so much and upon which he set an 
ineradicable seal. 

In the year Shaka 1225 (A.D. 1303) King Bhimdev died, and was succeeded by his 
son Pratapbimb, or Pratapshah, as he is sometimes called.* Nothing of importance is known 
or recorded of him, save that he built another capital city at Marol in Salsette, which he named 
Pratappur. The name of the city still lives as Pardapur or Parjapur, a deserted village near 
the centre of Salsette. 

In the year 1318 A.D., after the reduction of Devgiri and the defeat and death of Harpaldev, 
son-in-law of the Yadava monarch E,amdev, Mubarak, the Emperor of Delhi, ordered his 
garrisons to be extended to the sea, and occupied Mahim and Salsette.f But Mahommedan 
supremacy was probably not firmly established till later ; for old Marathi records show tkat 
Pratapihah reigned for 28 years, that is till A.D. 1331, when he was slain, and his kingdom 
usurped, by his brother-in-law Nagardev, the Chief of Cheul.| 

Nagardev reigned for 17 years, that is, till the year 1348, when his dominions passed 
into the hands of the Moslem rulers of Gujarat § : and thus came to an end the sovereignty of 
old Hindu Kings over the islands of Bombay and its dependencies. |l 

*Bhimdev was also called Bhim Shafa or Bimb Shah. In a Persian record, possessed bv the family of the 
late Sirdesai of Malad, it is stated that in the year Shaka 1208 (?) Eamdev Raja with his son Bimbdev went to pay his 
teBpects to Ala-nd-din at Delhi. He was well received, and the king, taking Bhimdev ns his own son, conferred upon him the 
title of Sbab. 

It is tme that Bamdev visited the Delhi Court, but the date given above does not appear to be correct. Compare 
the following; — 

" Ramohitidra was received there (at Delhi) with great marks of favour and distinction; and royal dignities were 
conferred upon him. Not only was he restored to bis government, but other districts were added to his dominions, for all 
of which he did homage and paid tribute to the king of Delhi. The kinc; on this occasion gave him the district of Nausari 
in Gujrat as a personal estate, and a hundred thousand tank^s to pay his expenses home. " — Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. I, Part 
a, p. 532. 

t Bom. Geo. See. Trans., Vol. V, p. 129. 

t P. M. Nayak's History of the Prabhns, pp. 59-60. 


II According to Maratha accounts, the following causes combined to bring about the fall of kins Nagardev. The 
king had a favourite named Bhagadchari, This man was the son of one Jaitchuri, an illegitimate son of the kine-. Bhagad- 
chnii having been appointed by Nagardev Governor of the province of Sashti i Salsette) greatly oppressed the iihabitams of 
that region. He had the land measured and divided it into ' kathis,' ' bighas," and ' haras ' ; and for each ' hara ' (^8 
bighas) the rayats were ordered to pay fonimaunds of the prodnce of the land. Thus revenne was raised and royal favour 


Ere the curtain fafls upon this dim period of our island-story, it ware well to take a rapid 
journey across the Heptanesia, noting such of their peculiarities, as may be discernible from 
locahties or names existing in these days. The two southern isles can hav© changed but little 
hy the close of the Hindu period, and since the Koli's first arrival on these shores. The tw<> 
together form the Kola-bhat (Colaba) or Koli'a portion ; and the smaller of the twain, being 
inhabited by deep-sea fishermen, has been endowed by Arab seamen with the separate title of 
Al-Omanis' Island (Old Woman's Island). The numbers of inhabitants may possibly have been 
augmented by the settlement of some of Bhimdev'a Bhandaris, the descendants of whom are to 
this day resident in the old Colaba village. 

The third island, as we pass northward, is more noticeable. At the edge of its nearest 
promontory wo seem to discern a rude landing-place or beach, used doubtless by our aboriginal 
fishermen, around which there has grown up a species of shrub or tree, whose shoots introduce a 
gleam of colour into the surroundings. What more natural than that, by the end of the era of 
Hindu dominion, the place should have been known as " Pallav' or " Pallav Bandar," " the 
Harbour of Clustering Shoots ?" From "Pallav " to " Palio," which was the name of the region 
in a Government Memorial of 1743, is no great change : nor is the final alteration from *« Pallo '^ 
to '' Polo, " and thence to " Apollo " incomprehensible. Apollo Bunder ! One of the best known 
areas of modern Bombay, ornate in these days, not with burgeoning shrubs, but with embellish- 
ments of more lasting character.* 

Passing forward, one remarks a wide plain, part of which has been converted by 
later generations into an Esplanade, containing palm-groves, tamarind trees and a small 
settlement of Bhandaris, Agris or others. Perchance it was one of those tamarinds, which 
lived to see the building of a Cathedral of St. Thomas, and to give the title of " Amliagal " 
(" in front of the Tamarind ") to the Elphinstone Circle. Not far away, probably, was 
a rude shrine of the monkey-god, Hanuman or Maruti, beloved of the aboriginal and 
lower classes. Dowered by Vayu with the gift of ' Chiranjiva ' or immortality, Hanuman 
still lives with us in the Hanuman Street and Cross-lanes of a modern Market Section. Between 
the shrine and the creek which separated the island at high-tide from the fourth island, of 
" Machchagaum, " lay Dongri, the hill-tract, peopled by the Koli and others ; and southward 
thereof on the lower ground, were probably small groups of Brab-palms, near which dwelt 
Bhandari families, and which have been responsible for such modern place-names as " Sattad " 
(Satar) or " Seven-Brab " Street, and " Dontad " (Dontar) or " Twin-Brab " Row. Here also, 
close to the sea-shore, were more Tamarinds (Chinch= Tamarindus indica), whence we derive the 
name of the " Chinch Bunder " or " Tamarind landing place," a sub-section of the modern 
B Ward, To the north-west of Dongri there must have existed a plantation of the Thespesia- 
populuca, called in the native tongue " Bhendi," which has given its name to the well-known 
Bhendy Bazaar ; and a little westward of the rising ground, a small creek or * Khadi,' with one or 
more specimens of the Fkus glomerata growing upon its banks. " Umbar " is the Vernacular name 

gained ; and to the complaints made against Bhagadchari.Nagardev on thia account paid no attention. Discontent was wide- 
spread ; for Bhagadchari indulged bis vicioas propensities to the fall, outraged respectable women, and committed more than 
one murder ; yet was permitted by the king's favour to go unpunished. 

The immediate cause of Nagardev's downfall, however, was the degradation by him of one of his Sirdars, Nathrao Sindha 
Bhongle. Nathrao happened to displease one Thakur Chaughale, a favourite of the king, and was publicly disgraced. Burn- 
ing with desire to be revenged upon the king, Nathrao journeyed to Wadnagar (?), interviewed the Sultan of that place, and 
urged upon him the advisability of conquering the North Konkan. The Sultan, therefore, ordered bis General Nika Halik to 
set forth. Nika Malik, taking an army of 12,000 men, reached by rapid marches the Pargana of Saiwau (Bassein Taluka? ) 
and there enoaTiped near the Patalgangn in the forest of Karvi trees. Thence he proceeded by night to the Kanheri caves 
where he divided the army into three deiachments. rine marched aguinst Pratappur, the second against Thana, and the 
third, under Nita Malik himself, invaded Mahim (Bombay). So sudden was the attack that Nagardev, who had gone to Wal- 
keahvar for religions purposes, was quite unaware of the danger. The defence of the royal palace, iherefi>re, devolved upon 
his queen and a few retainers ; and in the struggle, the queen was slain and the palace looted. By this time a message had 
reached Nagardev, who gathering his men together, marched back to meet the Moslem forces, A battle ensued at Bhaya- 
khala (Bycnlla), in which Nagardev was defeated and slain. These events happened in the year Shaka 1270 (A.D. 1347-48), 
—(Mr. P. B. Joshi.) 

» Sir James Campbell derives the name from ' Palva,' a, boat or fighting vessel. The derivation adopted by the 
writer is that given by Dr. da Cunha in his ' Origin of Bombay. ' 





of this tree, the water-giving and medicinal qualities of which have ever marked it as sacrosanct^; 
whence we now reckon among the sections of B Ward an " Umbar-khadi " or " Oomerkhan 
Before quitting this eastern portion of the third of the Heptanesia, one would draw attention to 
a remarkable channel of water, lying hard by the Fig-tree creek and in the direct path oi the 
traveller, as he fared southward from Mazagon or Machchagaun and the northern islands, ihe 
stream, though sluggish in the fair season, flowed throughout the year ; and the inhabitants ot 
Mahikavati or Simva, the boundary-hamlet, would halt awhile and lave their tired feet therein. 
Hence the spot came to be known as " Pya-dhuni " or " The Foot-wash. " In later ages the 
rapidity and strength of the current during the monsoon led a Christian government to build a 
bridge over it, and subsequently to fill up the channel, and lay down highways and dwelling- 
places. To-day the site is covered with houses, shops and temples or mosques ; and the name 
of it alone survives in the " Pydowni " Police Station ! 

The modem names of many localities within the island point to the existence of a Tree or 
Plant-worship among the earlier colonists. Nor is this surprising, when one remembers that at 
least three of the separate communities which accompanied lihimdev, earned their livelihood by 
husbandry or by the care of a particular species of tree. The comparatively narrow belt of 
land which united the eastern portion of the 3rd island with the jungle -cove red hill on the west, 
must have been thickly sown with plantations or groves of various kinds, among which one may 
noteagarden of jack-fruit trees or " Phanas," origin of our modern section of Phanaswadi ; agroup 
of plantain and brab-trees, which have been responsible for the " Tadvadi " and " Kelevadi," 
leading ofe the Girgaum Eoad ; and lastly an orchard of Bor (Zizyphus jujuba), which we call 
" Borbhat. " Borbhat has grown old, and can scarce recollect the days when the people came up 
out of the low-lying fields or Khet-wadi, to worship at the shrine of the village-goddess (Gaumdevi); 
but the name may still be seen by the wayfarer on the Girgaum Road, not far from the site of Mug- 
bhat, old Munga's ancient holding. Kolvar (hodie Gavel) has already been noticed ; it stood 
near Phanaswadi, and must have formed quite as large a settlement as the Hill-village or Giri- 
gaum (hodie Girgaum), which was situated west of Borbhat and the palm-groves. There was 
probably a " Gramndevata, " peculiar to Girgaum, whose shrine, set up on the outskirts thereof, 
may have eventually resulted in the name of that thoroughfare aud locality — Gamdevi or Gaum- 
devi— which lies between the Qowalia Tank and Chowpatty Sea Face. The name '' Chowpatty '' 
must also date from this epoch of Hindu colonisation, when the sea swept through the 
W'orli breach at high-tide, and swamped those regions which now form the central sections of 
the city. The sea was responsible for a " Foot-wash," for " a Fig-Tree Creek " ; and may simi- 
larly have formed four channels in the neighbourhood of Girgaum, which, on the analogy*of 
the word " Satpati" (in the Thana district), would have endowed the neigbourhood with the title 
of " Chow-pati " or Chowpatty. 

From the village and shrine one reached the path of the " Ladder," Shidi or Siri, which 
wound upward to the ridge of the great hill. At the southern extremity thereof was " the 
Lucky Hollow," through which Shivaji crept in after years, in hope of washing away his blood- 
guiltiness. There, too, was the great shrine, dedicated to the cult of Shiva, round which a small 
colony of ascetics and others may have gathered, and relics of which, broken pillars and carven 
blocks, are still in existence. On the left of the '' Ladder " was a plantation of the Acacia ara- 
bica or Babhul, the reverence paid to which must have occasioned the building of a shrine of 
' Babhalnath ; ' and some distance to the north of it was still higher ground, a continuation 
really of Malabar Hill, which has earned, however, the separate title of Cumballa Hill, irom 
the grove of " Kambal, '' '' Kamal," or Odina wodier, which flourished upon it at the close of 
this Hindu epoch. 

The traveller of those early days gazing westward from the Kambal-grove, would have 
marked the hill sloping downwards to the sea, and at its foot three shrines to Mahakali, Maha^ 
sarasvati, and Mahalakshmi.* The goddesses were there, had not yet leaped into the waves of 

* Th>- Jlalialalisliini temples of to-day are of comparatively modern date, having been erected after the constraotion of 
the Hornby VeUard. 


the " Ksherasagara, " as the Worli creek was named, to avoid ruthless profanation by Moslem 
•fanatics. From their shrines they looked out upon the " Khind," (Candy) or Break in the 
Book- Ridge, called in after time Breach Candy, through which the ocean ''swept with 
all the fury ^nd pleasure of an Arabian colt. " At each successive tide, the waves claimed 
as their portion the low-lying ground which intervened between the foot of the hill and 
the rising-ground of Dongri in the distance. Here and there, perhaps, some land-mark 
may have appeared, some small area may have risen above the waste waters. That there 
were Brab-Palms (Tad) flourishing below the hill of Kambais, one feels convinced ; and 
remembering the special sanctity which in India and other countries has attached to trees 
yieldmg mtoxicating drink, it seems not unlikely that these gaunt hrabs were looked upon 
as the special haunt of a Deva, a " Tad-deva " or Brab-Tree God. lu these days the trees 
are overlooked by the chimney-stacks of factories, and long line's of mill-roofs ; hut the name 
of the section in which they stand-— Tardeo, which is " Taddeo " or " Taddev"— -still calls to 
mind their pristine importance. To southward of the Brab-trees, the Agris and others must 
have initiated a rude cultivation, dividing the marshy land into " khets " or fields, which were 
reclaimed during the period of British doqjiinion and transformed into the ' Khetwadi ' section ; 
while to the eastward, some slightly higher ground may have afforded room for a small 
settlement of Agris, and shrine of the " Naga " or serpent, beloved of Kolarian, Dravidian, 
and even Aryan immigrant. Other origin of a modern Agripada and Nagpada we know not. 

Thus, then, the tour of our third island is complete ; but, before passing northward, it 
should be home in mind that this island was the original island of Bombay, as distinct from 
Mahim, Colaba, and others, which have, during the period of British rule only, been welded 
together under the one title. We may well pause for brief consideration of the origin of a 
name, which, so far as we know, was not universally recognised till after the fourteenth or 
fifteenth century of the Christian era. For many years the name of Bombay was held to have 
arisen from the juxtaposition of the Portuguese words " Buon " (Good) and " Bahia " ( bay or 
harbour), and to be proof of the attachment which the men of Portugal formed towards the 
excellent island-haven. But the rules of euphony forbid the acceptance of this view, and the 
fact that early Portuguese writers refer to the place as " Bombaim " and not as ' Bombahia,' shows 
that this derivation cannot be correct. Another version connects the name of our island with 
the name of Mubarak I, Emperor of Delhi, who seized the sovereignty of Mahim and Salsette 
duriiig the early years of the fourteenth century A.D. ; but the absence of any record showing 
that he gave his name to the island, and the probability that, had he done so, it would have 
been designated " Mubarakhpur " or " Muharakhabad," militate againat this derivation. For a 
truer conception of the origin of the title, one must seek among the traditions of our oldest 
settlers. Local folklore, based upon an old work known as the Mumba Devi Mahatmya or 
Puran, declares that the island of Bombay owes its name to the goddess " Mumba.* " Whence 
comes this name " Mumba ? " Is it of foreign origin, or the name of some Hindu female, given 
to the goddess ? Some authorities believe that it is derived from " Munga " the name of the Koli, 

* " We have," writes Mr. P. B. Joshi, " a copy of this so-called Puran. It is written in Sanskrit and contains 52 verses 
or nearly 208 lines. It states that years ago there lived on this island a powerful Daitya, who won the approval of Biamha 
by the performance of religions austerities. In response to the demon's request, Bramha granted that he should be invincible 
by men, gods, yakshas, gandharvas, demons, animals, serpents, birds and beasts and the Daity* then begin to harass the 
people of the earth. (This story may be connected indirectly with the religious persecution set on foot by Muba'ak I, who 
destroyed many Hindu temples in Bombay.) The people sought the help of Vishnu, who, accomp.inied by Bramha, went to 
KaUasa and reported tbe Demon's evil practices to Shiv. Shiv, in great wrath, cast from his mouth a portion of his ' Tej ' or 
lustre, and commanded the other gods to do likewise. From the combined lustre of aU the deities was created a female 
goddess, who mounted upon hev ' Vahan,' the lion of Ambadevi, gave battle to the demon Mumbarak and defeated him. 
On his ;fromising to cease persecuting the people, he was permitted to repair to ' Fatal ' (the lower regions), after first 
receiving the assurance of the goddess that she would adopt the name of Muinbadevi and remain upon the island. The writer of 
the Puran remarks in conclusion that ' Those who desire health and prosperity, victory in battle, power of oratory and- 
progeny, etc., should worship the goddess with flowers, fruits and presents of money, ornaments and jewels ; and thither 
votaries should also feed Brahmins and give them ' Dakshina ' or pesents of money.' The author was clearly a Brahmin 
priest, fond I if dakshina, and was probably also but half -educated, as the verses are full of grammatical inaccuracies and are 
occasionally framed without regard to the rules of Sanskrit prosody. He volunteers this further information towards the close 
pf the pOem :->-'Havipg heard of the prowess of the goddess from Eama, the great warrior Hanuman came to Bombay at 
once, and has been living ever since upon the island'; and 'in order to strengthen the defences of ihe islinl a,!!;ainst foreign - 
encroachment, the goddess Mumba commanded 100,000 of her 'ganas' or fighting followers tooome and settle in Bombay. ' " 


who built the original temple; but we like best the derivation of the word from " Maha-Amba," 
Patrou deity of our earliest settlers, in other words, BhavAni, consort of Shiva ! The femmme form 
of the word ' Munga ' is ' Mungi ' or ' Mugi ' (c./. Mugbhat): and the correct form of the island s 
name would have been ' Mungi-ai ' and not ' Munga-ai ' or ' Mumbai.' BhavJlni. on the other 
hand, is often known as ' Amba,' ' Ambika ' or ' Maha-Amba' ; while the suffix ' ai ' meanmg 
' Mother,' is a term of respect often used by Marathi- speaking Hindus towards their goddesses. 
' Mambai ' or ' Mumbai ' is the exact name of the city and island among the natives of these 
days, and has been transformed by the Portuguese into ' Bombaim ' and by the English into 
' Bombay. ' 

There was doubtless a temple or shrine of Mumba-devi or Mumb-ai upon our third 
island at the close of the Hindu period, situated perhaps upon the very spot (near the present 
Victoria Terminus), which a shrine of later construction occupied during the earlier years of 
British dominion. But the island had not at that date acquired sufficient importance to b© 
designated, save in the common parlance of Hindu fisher-folk, by a separate name. It was 
merely one of the dependencies of Mahim, an island of no little political and commercial 
importance during the fourteenth and fifteenth centnriBS of the Christian era. But the influence 
of the old goddess, though subjected on occasions to disastrous eclipse, has survived the changes, 
of centuries, and has finally given one common and immortal name to the scattered islets- of the 
Hindu period. 

Passing across the Fig-Tree Creek, to the shores of the fourth island, the traveller would 
have entered the " fish-village " or Machchagaum, of which we have already spoken ; and 
journeying north-westward, would have discovered a tract of land, overgrown with Brabs, which 
were doubtless in charge of the Bhandaris and others, who dwelt in the village. " Tad-vadi '* 
(the Brab-garden) would have been the title of the locality, whence we of the twentieth century 
A.D. derive the name of the " Tarvadi " or " Tarwari " section. Westward again of the Brab- 
garden was a level stretch of land, extending as far as the marshy domain of the sea, which 
in the days of Antonio Pessoa was known as ' Bhoycalem,' and in our time as BycuUa. Whence 
the name is derived is a matter of doubt. Some authorities opine that the Hindu 
name of the Cassia fistula, viz., ' Bhava ' or ' Bhaya,' may have combined with the -word 'Khala 
or ' level ground,' to produce the modem designation of a much wider area. Others, again, 
characterizing this view as far-fetched, believe that hereabouts was of old time the " Khala 
or the " thrsshing-floor " of one 'Bhaya.'* Whatever the truth may be, it is perhaps per- 
missible to suppose that there existed on the western shore of the island some small hamlet, 
whose inhabitants followed the calling of agriculture or propelled their rude craft across the 
future site of the Kamathis' township. 

Faring forward once more across the ocean's intercepting arm, one remarks the 
fretted coast of the largest of the three northern islands. In the extreme south lay a 
tamarind-covered valley, which they called '' Chinch-pokli " (the dell of Tamarinds) and we 
of these days Chinchpooghly— a district not unknown to local Mill-agents and employers 
of labour. The valley was succeeded by level ground, containing the village of " Paral " or 
" Parel," with its habitations of Thakurs and Bhois, and enclosed on the east by rising ground, 
and on the west by the sea and a tract of land, which from the luxuriance of its prickly-pear 
bushes, must early have earned the title of ' Mingut-Maudali'. The name exists to this day in 
every Municipal chart of the island. North of Paral lay Naigaum, the boat hamlet, in which 
Bhimdev built his hall of justice and his Brahman followers had made their homes. Brahmins, 
Prabhus, Thakurs, Kolis and others must have transformed the old hamlet into a comparatively 
populous settlement by the close of the Hindu era. Now on the eastern side of the rising ground, 
which looked down upon Bhimdev's settlements, lay a small promontory, called in the Hindu 
tongue " Sivadi," from the fact probably that it once contained a shrine of Siva or Shiv, the 
Lord of Death.t The shrine in course of time fell into ruins, and was replaced by a fort, of 
which the remains alone are now visible. But a new shrine has in later years been dedicated 

* Vbaya, MdyaidiC., are common names amoDg Agris and Kunbis, 'Bbayacha Kbala' (the tbteshing-floor c{ Bhaya} 
may easily have beeome Bhayakhalao' Bycnila. 

t The word may also have origmated in " Shiv-vadi " or " Sbivar-vadi." 


to the Destroyer, whose name still lives in a modern Sivari, Sivri or Sewri section, whither the 
European community hears its dead for burial. North of Naigaon were groups of great Banian 
trees, termed ' Vad ' in the Hindu tongue ; whenoe is derived the modern place-name, ' Vad-ala ' or 
Banian avenue ; and lastly, on the verge of the land lay the Boundary-hamlet, (Simva=Sion), 
•expanded doubtless since its early foundation, by the immigration of new people, owing allegiance 
to the overlord of Mahim, and of travellers from the Shashashti villages and the mainland. 

In the midmost of the three northern isles lay the city of Mahikavati, of which no trace, 
save the first half of the name (Mahi or Mahim), remains in these days. It must have been a 
goodly city, this capital of Bhima Raja, with its colonies of Palshikar Brahmins, of Prabhus, of 
Bhandaris and others, with its great temple of Prabhavati, and the wide forest of cocoa-palms, 
which ultimately gave the name of " Mad-mala " ( 2.e., cocoa-palm avenue ) to a tract, now 
included in the Mahim section. There were also, according to Dr. Gerson da Cunha, a shrine and 
village of Kalikadevi or Kali, goddess of the aboriginal Koli, in this island of Mahikavati. 
In later years, the shrine was removed to the third of our Heptanesia, during the period, perhaps, 
of Mahommedan intolerance, and eventually left the legacy of its name to that modern artery of 
the city, Kalkadevi or Kalbadevi Bead. At the close of the Hindu period and for many years 
subsequent thereto, Mahim was the most important of all the islands, and formed the head-quarters 
-of a government, which held sway over lands now welded together under the name of Bombay. 

' From the southern limits of Mahikavati, one looked across a channel upoii the last of our 

isles. Rocky and narrow, this seventh island lay like a carelessly-placed barrier in the path of 
iha tide, stemming the direct onslaught of Ocean, yet suffering him at (he same time to cr^ep 
through chasms at either extremity, and claim as his portion the low-lying land within. The only 
inhabitants of the land, as far as we know, were the Kolis ; and the most noteworthj- feature of the 
locality was a fine grove of Banian trees (Fieus indica). The shade of the Banian, the medicinal 
properties of its roots, which are said to cure thirst, sorrow and melancholy, have always ensnred 
it a high place in the estimation of the Hindu ; and the respect accorded to the trees by early 
Hindu immigrants probably led to the name " Vad-ali " (Banian Row) being applied to the whole 
island. The people of later ages, confusing the palatal * d ' with " r,' called the place Var-ali, 
•which is now become Varli or Worli, — a locality not unknown to Municipal Drainage Engineers. 


Such was Bombay at the close of the Hindu period. Out of the infinite backgrourid of 

the ages a motley company of actors has advanced, each of whom, his part in the island-drama 
ended, has vanished in the darkness, leaving scarce a trace behind. The aboriginal Koli intro- 
<Iuced the hut-settlement and fishing craft, the Malkhed monarch a currency, the Silahara 
chieftain the art of temple-building, and the fugitive heir of the house of Devgiri a system of 
revenue and politics. Agriculturist and artificer, merchant and man-at-arms, priest and state 
officia], must severally have formed a part of the population, which dwelt amid the plantations 
-or near the temples, scattered over the face of the seven islands. To us of the twentieth century 
this Hindu period has bequeathed many a place-name, and certain distinct classes of our popula- 
tion. Koli, Agri, Bhandari, Bhoi, Thakur, Mali, Panchkalshi, Prabhu, and Palshikar Brahmin, 
^11 journeyed hither prior to the irruption of Islam. Whether there was any Mahommedan 
-element in the population, cannot with certainty be decided ; but it is stated in the Gazetteer 
■ o/5o7n6ay that the Mussulman inhabitants of the western coast of India afforded considerable 
aid to Mubarak I, at the hour when he "extended his outposts to the sea and occupied Mahim 
.near Bombay. " Is it not then possible that his seizure of Mahim and neighbouring islands was 
rendered more complete by the presence therein of Mahomedans, whom the tolerant character 
of the Hindu government and the commercial importance of Mahikavati had induced to im- 
^ligrate in previous years? Howsoever it be, the sovereignty of Bombay passed about the 
middle of the fourteenth ceotury into the hands of the Emperor of Delhi, who sought by fanatical 
■;per3ecution to overthrow the power of Prabhadevi, Mahalakshmi, and Valukeshvar. Little could 
he foresee that the power o'f those old deities would survive the intolerance of Islam and the 
proselytism of Portugal, and that the recognition of their power in future centuries would rather 
-aid than retard the contented submission of their followers to the authority of a stranger-people. 


The second act of our Island-drama, which may be said to extend roughly from the date of 
Nilgardev's downfall to the middle of the sixteenth century, and is usually termed the Mahom- 
medaD period, is even more devoid of historical facts, regarding the condition and population of 
Bombay, than the period of Hindu supremacy. The seven islands merely formed the military 
outpost of a mainland monarchy, and yet awaited the influence of western immigration to bring 
them into prominence. Nevertheless, one is unwilling to follow the example of one well-known 
student of Bombay history and curtly dismiss a period, which lasted for some two centuries or 
more. If it only be discovered that one land mark or one class of our population came jnto 
existence in consequence of the spread of Moslem influence, our retrospect will not have been 
wholly fruitless. 

Commercial relations between the Arabs and the western coast of India- from Cambaj 
in the north to Sufala (SopSra) and Seimur (Chaul) in the south— existed, as we know, from, 
pi:e-Islamic times. There are records. of old Arab settlements at Kalyau* ; while in the timfr 
of Agatharcides (B.C. 177-100) the Arab element along the western sea-board was so influen- 
tial that the lower classes of Hindus had adopted its religion, a species of Sabeanism tinged 
with idolatry. The word " Melizigeris," also, which occurs in Ptolemy's Map of India (A.D, 
150>is'of semi-Arabic origin, "Zigeris" being admitted by erudite scholars to be a corruption 
of"Jazirah,"an island.f 

Some fourteen years after the flight of the Prophet from Meccah to Madinah, that is in 
A.D. 636, the earliest Moslem Arab expedition was despatched by Uthman-ath-Thakafi, the 
second Khalifah Umar, to the Konkan. Though the Arabs landed successfully at Thana, the- 
expedition degenerated into little more than a raid, and provoked an angry remonstrance from 
the Khalifah, who, on the safe return of the forces from El-Hind, wrote thus lo the Governor 
of the Arabian Irdk : " Brother of Thakif ! It is well ! Thou hast placed the worm in the- 
wood, but by Allah I had any of my men been lost, I should have taken an equal number from 
thy tribe ! " { The Khalifah Umar and his successors were not favourably impressed with 
India as a field for proselytism or settlement ; and their views were doubtless responsible for th& 
paucity of early Moslem expeditions against Western India. When the highly-gifted hnl 
illiterate Badawi, companion of Al-Hajjaj ibni Eusuf (A. D. 685-706) was asked to describe 
India, which according to the Arab notions of the day included Khurasan, he replied that t 
*' The sea of El-Hind is pearls, its rooks precious stones, its leaves spices and its people a flock 
of helpless pigeons ; but the way to it is through a land whose waters are snows, and whose 
people are an ever watchful foe." 

About A.D. 636 the Arab Governor of Bahrein fitted out two fleets against the ports of the 
Gulf of Cambay ; and subsequent to that date Arab attacks upon the seaports of Western India 
became more frequent. In A.D. 730 Broach was attacked ; in A.D. 7.58 and 778 fleets were 
despatched against the Kathiawar coast ; and, in the reign of the Umaiyad Al Walid,. 
Muhammud, son of Kasim, came overland from Shiraz and made his famous raid from Debal to 
Delhi. The rule of the Silaharas and their successors in the North Konkan was most favoarable 
to Musulman settlement ; for Al Masudi refers to the wise and enquiring Hindu JhSnjha,. 
Governor of Cambay, whom the modern historian identifies with the 5th Silahara monarch IT ; 
while Suleiman, the first Arab Geographer and Traveller (A. D. 851), states that the " Balharas,"' 
by which name the Arabs styled the Silahara dynasty, were of all Hindu Kings the most 
partial to the Muslimin. Not only did the Arab soldier and seaman find welcome on 

* Abnl Fida, Keinand's II, ccol, s:!!xiv. 
t Thana Gazetteer, XIII, p. 6!. 
t Al-Bilazuri (A. D. 949) in Elliot I, 116. 
t Bombay Gazetter, p. 422, Vol. liii, I. 


these shores, but many a trader, eqcouraged by the complacent attitude of Hindu chieftains, 
took up his abode ia Anahilvada, Cambay and Sindan. * Treated with much consideratioD, 
allowed to build mosques freelyf, and practise their religion without hindrance, these early 
Persian and Arab settlers spread themselves along the coast line, intermarried with the Hindu 
population and thus gave birth to the " Nawaits " or " Nditia " community, which formed 
the ancestry of the oldest Moslem comumnity in Bombay, the " Konkani Mahommedans" 
of 1901. In later years came fresh Moslem invaders, who have left their traces in the 
four-fold distribution of the Mahommedan population into Sayads, Sheikhs, Mughals and 

We pass on to the close of the thirteenth century, when Moslem invasion became more 
determined, and the old Hindu monarchies began to apprehend danger. Farishtah tells of Ala- 
ud-din Ghori pursuing Ramdev of Devgiri to the very gates of his capital in A, D. 1294 | and of 
how his followers discovered 3,000 bags of salt, stacked near the gates, which had been brought 
thither for sale by a merchant of the Konkan. This event doubtless led to an agreement on the 
part of the Yadava king to pay annual tribute to Ala-ud-din, who in return granted him the title 
of Rai-i-Rayan, the R5i of Rrfis or King of Kings,— a rich reward, and the confirmation of 
all his possessions with the addition of Navsari. § To Ramdev succeeded Shankar who was slain 
by A,la-ud-din in 1312 for refusing the continuance of the tribute paid by his father; and to 
Shankar succeeded Harpaldev, his son-in-law, who got the original graat revoked by a similar act* 
of contumacy, and subjected his dominions to invasion by a Moslem force from North Gujarat. % 

Now it is, in A.D. 1318, after the fall of DeVgiri, that the first direct evidence of Musulman 
supremacy in our island is vouchsafed tons. Sultau Kutb-ud-din, or Mubarak Shah I, who 
reigned from L317 to 1320 A.D., is stated to have ordered his outposts to be extended to the sea 
and to have occupied Mabim in Bombay and Salsette. || The large Mahommedan population 
which dwelt peacefully in the coast-towns under the generous sway of Hindu monarchies, 
doubtless helped towards the success of that policy of empire, which for a short season guided 
the actions of this Emperor. Bat the spectacle of impartiality and toleration afforded by Hindu 
dominion taught no lesson to Mubarak I ; and the establishment of his garrisons was merely the 
signal for a fanatical persecution of old Hindu deities. The destruction, by his orders, of the old 
temple of Mumbadevi, guardian goddess of our island, the temporary departure from our shores 
of Mahalakshmi and her sisters, resulted naturally from the pursuance of that policy of repression,, 
which the friar-i Jordanus and Oderic remarked during their sojourn in Thana from 1321 to 
1324. tt " The Saracens," said they, " hold the whole country, having lately usurped the domi- 
nion. They have destroyed an infinite number of idol temples, likewise many churches of which 
they have annexed the endowments." According to their account the head-quarters of the king- 
dom were at Thana, which was governed by a Military officer or Malik and by a civil officer or 
Kazi ; and the country was well stocked with big game, notably black-lions (probably the black 
Javan panther) and the rhinoceros. The Hindu population followed the custom of carrying their 
dead with great pomp (just as the Kamathi or Telugu-speaking Hindus bear their dead with 
music and song to this day) to the fields and casting them forth to the beasts and birds, || 

Beyond the fact of his establishing an outpost at Mahim, and of his earning immortal 
obloquy as the demon Mumba Rakshasa, we know but little of Mumbarak Shah's connection with 
our island. It seems, however, probable that Musulman supremacy was never very firmly 

* AUdrisi, 1070-1100 A.D. t Farishtah, Persian Text, I., pp. 165, 166. 

t Ibni-Haakal, A.D. 943. § Ibid. p. 206. 

f- The Bombay Gazetteer, XIII, II, 438, note 6, Buppo.«ea that the Malik who commanded this expedition was 
Malik-nl-Tnjjar. But Malikul-Tujjar was a Bahmani noble, who rose to power about A D. 1417, and this event ia recorded 
as having taken place under the Khiljis (A. D. 1295-1317). The firi-t conquest of Mahim by Mulik-uI-Tnjjar Khalaf Hassan 
Basri took place in 1429 (»jdc Farishtah I, 630). It seems probable that the Malik here referred to was Malik Nasvat, men- 
tioned by Farishtah as one of the two generals of Ala-nd-din who came with XJlugh Khan from Sindh (Farishtah 1, 179). During 
the Khil.ii piriod "Malik" was a common and favourite title. Signifying literally 'king,' it was at first given to 
Bajpntsof positi'U, 'ho embraeei the faith of Islam, to distinguish them from foreign Mnsnlman officers and nobles, 

II Bombay Gazetteer, XIII., II, 438. ft Bombay Gaietteer, XIII, II, 439. 

}t Sir James Campbell (XIII, 11, 440) takes this as proof of Parsi influence. Vide also Thana Gaaetteer, 11,251, 


e.ublished in Bombay •; and in the time of Mohammad Tughlak (^-D- 1325-50) U may 
even be held to have languishedf. It was three years prior to the conclusion of his dominion 
that the new Mahommcdan invasion of the Konkan necessitated by Harpaldev s retusai to pay 
tribute, took place, an,l that our Island of Mahim was for the second time overrun by the 
followers of Islam. 

In 1347 (the Shaka year 1270), as we have seen, Nagarshah or Nagardev ^^« '^"'j'JS 
over Salsette and Mahim. The immediate causes of his downfall were, according to Maratha 
accounts, the evil practices of his favourite Jaitchuri and the degradation of one of his Sirdars, 
Nathrao Sindha Bhongle, who fled to Vadnagar in North Gujarat and begged the Musulman 
ruler (probably one of the " Amiran-i-Sadah " or centurions of the Delhi Sultan) to turn his 
arms against the North Konkan. | An army set forth under the Malik Niku (the Nikka Malik 
of the Bimbakhyan), one part of which attacked Pratappur in Salsette, a second portion marched 
against Thana, and a third laid siege to Mahikavati or Mahim, which in the absence of the 
King was courageously defended for a time by his queen and a few retainers. The struggle 
was, however, hopeless : the queen was slain ; the city looted ; and finally a pitched battle was 
fought at Byculla between the Moslem host and the forces of Nagarshah, in which the former 
proved victorious. For the second time, therefore, the islands of Bombay became directly 
subject to the Mahommedan ; garrisons -were set up in different placeSj while the Malik Niku 
and another Moslem officer fixed upon Pratappur and Bassein as their respective places of 

It seems possible that the growth of the Musulman community in our islands was 
directly encouraged by the victory of the Gujarat forces under Malik Niku. Not so very many 
years after the sack of Mahikavati and the heroic death of Nagardev's queen, there was birn in 
our island of Mahim a very remarkable man. Shaikh Ali Paru, or, as he wai5 subsequently 
styled, Makhdum Fakih Ali, " the Worshipful Jurisconsult Ali, " whose shrine still attracts 
thousands of the faithful annually from all parts of India. The saint died A.H. 835 or 
A. I). 1431 at the age of 69, as we learn from the " Kashful Makhtum " or " Revelation of the 
Concealed " by Mahommed Yusuf Khatkhate, B.A. ; and a mosque and shrine were 
straightway built to his memory, which repaired and enlarged in A.H. 1085 (A. D. 1674), 
and improved by the addition of verandahs in A. H. 1162 (A. D. 1748), exist upon our island 
to this day. 

Notwithstanding the conquest of Mahim and the Northern Konkan by Malik Niku, the 
followers of Islam evinced no great interest in our island, until the establishment, at the close of 
the fourteenth century, of the beneficent rule of the Gujarat Sultans, whose ancestor Zafar Khan, 
afterwards Muzaffar Shah I of Gujarat (A.D. 1390-1412), was appointed Viceroy of the province 
of the North Konkan by Firuz Shah, nephew of that questionable potentate, Mahommad Tugulak. 
Zafar Khan, on his first arrival in these parts, found two Governors, one of Navsari, the other of 
Mahim, who had been appointed by the Khilji generals ; but these officials of the Delhi monar- 
chy were shortly removed in favour of men, owing more direct allegiance to the newly-founded 
house of Gujarat. § During the reign of Sultan Ahmed of Gujarat (1412-1441) one Malik- 
ush-Shark, a Gujarat noble of renown, was posted for some years at Mahim, and in addition to 
instituting a proper survey of the land, did a great deal towards the improvement of the revenue 
system. About the same date also occurred the great rebellion of the Bhongles, the descendants of 
Bhima Raja's Bhandari Sirdars, who were men of considerable influence and wealth. According 
to one account the Bhongles excited disaffeetioti among the subjects of the Ahmedabad monarch, 
and having thereby seized the Island of Mahim and its dependencies successfully held them for 
eight years against Sultan Ahmed Shah. Others opine that the rule of the Bhongles lasted for 
a longer period ; but, whatever the duration of their supremacy may have been, it is tolerably 

* Bombay Gazetteer, XIII, J, 216. 

t Briggs Faiishtab 1,413, Rasmala, 223. Thana Gazetteer XUl., II, AiO. 
t Bimt'akyan, pp. 60, 120, 123, 125. 

§ According to the Bimbakhyan, one Jafar or Zafar Khan, Fon of Hamir Klion, vuled Mahim for 30 yeari. The 
names given by the Prabbn writer are misleading, e. r;., Dafar for Zafar, Ambil for Hamir or Amir. 

certain that the nature of their public actions could not have conduced to a very firm establish- 
ment thereof. According to the Bimbakhyan, these Sirdars could not command the allocriancfr 
of a discontented people, among whom " the rule of the Bhongles" vras synonymous with every- 
thing false, disorderly and corrupt in the administration of a country. 

In the year 1429 (H. 833), as we learn from Farishtah, Sultan Ahmad Bahmani of the 
Deccan despatched his general Khalaf Hassan Basri to subjugate the North Konkan, and drive 
thence all contumacious local chieftains.* In the course of this invasion, Khalaf Hassan Basri 
captured Salsette and Mahim in Bombay. Hearing of this event, the Ahmedabad monarch sent 
his son Zafar Khan, with a well-appointed force, to recapture the lost territory. An obstinate- 
battle was fought on the shores of one of the island creeks between Zafar Khan and the Deccan 
army, which had been further reinforced in the meantime by the arrival of new forces under 
Prince Ala-ud-din Bahmani. The army of the Ahmedabad monarch won the day, routing their 
foe with the loss of 2,000 men, and 2 nobles, and capturing Husain, own brother to Khalaf 
Hasan Basri,- who was now styled Malik-ul-Tujjar.f 

This defeat in no wise tended to subdue the jealousy of the Bahmani monarch, who at 
length found an opportunity of retrieving his losses in the death of Qatub Khan, the Gujarat 
commandant of Mahim.J Once again did he despatch Malik- ul-Tujjar against the islaud. 
Sultan Ahmad of Gujarat on his side sent forth his son Zafar Khan, under the guidance of a tried 
warrior and noble, Iftikhar-ul-Mulk, to stem the tide of Deccani invasion ; and further ordered 
Mukhlis-ul-Mulk, the head of the Gujarat naval dep6t at Diu, to help with a strong maritime 
armament. Having collected seventeen ships-of-war from Diu, Gogha and Cambay, Mukhlis- 
ul-Mulk hastened to join the Prince at Mahim, where it was decided to attack the town of Thana 
simultaneously by sea and land. Malik Sohrab was ordered to precede the Prince and 
endeavour to drive out a considerable Dakhani force, which held Thana under the command of 
a Kotwal. The latter held out bravely for three days against the combined attack of the 
Gujarat forces ; but seeing the enemy daily reinforced by fresh arrivals, and finding that no 
assistance was forthcoming for the garrison, he decided to relinquish the defence and save 
his own life by flight. This action and the consequent occupation of Thana by a strong Gujarat 
o-arrison forced Malik-ul-Tujjar to retire to Mahim, whither Prince Zafar Khan speedily follow- 
ed him. Malik-ul-Tujjar threw up on all sides of the island a stockade of thorn trees, and 
martialling his forces, calmly awaited the enemy's onslaught. Terrible was the battle which, 
ensued ; for it lasted the whole day, and the dead lay in heaps upon the field. As evening wore 
on Malik-ul-Tujjar, deciding that further opposition was useless, retired with the remnant of his 
host to the island of Mumbadevi, Mumbai or Bombay. He subsequently made two fresh attempts- 
to regain the island of Mahim and its dependencies : but the overlordship of the Gujarat Sultan 
was too firmly grounded to offer hope of success in such an enterprise, and a marriage, which the 
latter had arranged between his son and the daughter of the Eai of Mahim, in A. D. 1432, served 
but to strengthen the position which he had won for himself and his house by sheer force of arms. 

Some years ago a portion of the cemetery near the Mahim shrine was washed away by 
the sea ; and numbers of bodies in various stages of preservation, and interred layer upon 
layer were thereby disclosed amid the strata of the beach. These are held to have been the 
bodies of the warriors who met their death in the battle between Zafar Khan and Malik-ul- 
Tuiiar ; and to this day the name of the place is ' Ganj-i-Shahidan,' '' the Catacomb of Martyrs." 

During the greater part of the fifteenth century, that is to say, from the reign of 
Ahmed Shah (1411-1441) to that of Bahadur Shah (1527-1536), our seven islands of Bombay 
Brobably formed a portion of the territory of the Gujarat Sultans ; for Erskine, iu the second 

* Farishtah, Persian Text, I., 630. 

-f " The title of Malik-nl-Tnjjar or Prince of Merchnnta seems cnriona, when applied to a distinguished minister 
, general. Hasan Basri, however, was a merchant before he entered the service ot Snltan Ahmad Bahmani. Ahmad, it 
at the time when his elder brother was on the throne and decided to blind him> fled from the capital. The first 
whom he met in his flight at the city gate was the merchant Khalaf Hasan who gave hun the royal salutation; and. 
• return the printe styled him Malik-ul-TujJBt"— (Faiishtah, Persian Text, I., 810.) 
X Farishtah, Persian Text, I., 370. 


-volume of his history, informs us that Sultan Ahmed in the course of his reign reduoed all the 
lowlands to the south of Gujarat and below the ghats, the Northern Konkan, and the Island 
of Bombay ; while a list of the possessions of the Gujarat monarchs, given in tha Mir-a-ti 
Ahmedi,* includes, among other places in the Konkan, the districts of Bassein, Bombay, 
Daman and Danda-Rajpar, Goa, indeed, is also mentioned, though its addition strikes us as 
hypothetical. But that our Heptanesia during the fifteenth century owed allegiance to the 
princes of Gujarat, there is very little room for doubt. 

Meanwhile the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbargah and Bidar in the Deccan were lords 
paramount of the South Konkan. In the year 1436 Sultan Ala-iid-din Bahmani reduced to 
subjection the Rajahs of Eairi (Raigadh) and Son-kehr, the position of which has not yet 
been satisfactorily determined. As one result of this victory the daughter of the Rai of Son-kehr, 
whose beauty had earned her the title of '' Pari-cliehrah," or *' Fairy-face," became a member 
of the Sultan's harem. In 1469 the Bahmani general Khajah Mehmud Gavan reduced Dabhol 
to subjection ; and this appears to have been the last notable achievement of the Bahmani monar- 
chy, ere the rise of Bahadur Khan Gilani. This remarkable man was the son of one of Khajah 
Mehmud Gavan's officers, who had been appointed Governor of Goa ; and shortly after 1478 
threw over his natural allegiance to the Bahmani Sultanate, seized Dabhol, and proclaimed himr 
self ruler of Daria-bar or the Coast-Tract. His example was followed in 1485 by Malik Ahmed, 
who established the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar, and by Yusuf Adil Khan, another 
Bahmani noble, who founded the Adilshahi house of Bijapur. 

It was hardly to be expected that new and vigorous powers such as these would fail to cast 
covetous eyes upon the wide possessions of the Gujarat monarchy ; and hence, three j'ears after 
the Nizamshahi King had obtained peaceful possession of Danda-Rajpur and other portions of the 
North Konkan (A. D. 1490), we hear of the invincible Bahadur Gilani harassing the Gujarat 
ports, seizing many ships belonging to the Sultan of Gujarat, and sending out his slave Yakut the 
Abyssinian with 20 ships to lay waste the island of Mahim in Bombay.f Thus for the fourth 
time our island served as the arena of a struggle between the Moslem powers of the mainland. 

Bahadur Gilani, however, did not long enjoy his forcefully-acquired dominion ; for the 
Gujarat Monarch Sultan Mehmud Begada sent forth Malik Sarang Kivam-ul-Mulk with a 
powerful army by way of the land, and a fleet of 300 boats, well furnished with men and 
ordnance, against Dabhol. These forces oo-operated with the generals of the Bahmani dynasty, 
who had also decided to take vengeance upon the rebel ; and in a battle, said to have been 
fought near Kolhapur J, Bahadur Gilani was slain, his head was forwarded to Sultan 
Mahmud Begada § and the fleet which he had gradually collected was handed over to the 
general of the Gujarat forces. || Subsequent to this event, the power of the Sultans of the 
Bahmani dynasty gradually declined, and their possessions in the Konkan were divided between 
the kings of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur. U 

Now it is during the reign of this same Mahmud Begada ("1507-8) that the future of our 
island is for the first time dimly shadowed forth. The Mir-a-ti Sikandari** makes mention of 
the Sultan's advance against certain ' Firangis,' who had created great disturbances in Mahim. 
These were none another than the adventurous men of Portugal, commencing to consolidate 
that dominion, which subsisted until the signing of Charles the Second's marriage treaty in the 
Palace of "Whitehall. Mahmud's expedition wa s of little use ; for by the time he reached Dahanu 

* The Mir-a-ti Ahmedi by Bird, 110, 129. 

t Bombay Gazetteer, I.,n, 32. The Mir-a-ti Sikandari (K.B. PazluUah's translation, p. 73) gives another reason 
for GiZani's action. When Khajah Jehan was assassinated by Sultan Muhammad Bahmani, MaKk-ul-Tujjar fled to Cambay, 
where he died, leaving behind him a daughter. Gilani aspired to marry her, and sent a message to that effect to het guardian', 
who unceremoniously refused, saying that a slave, purchased the other day by the lady's father, need not presume so far.' 
Gilani, thereupon, had the guardian murdered and attempted to carry off the lady by force. In this attempt, however, he was 
foiled by the people of Cambay, Thi5 to enraged him that he commenced plundering all the Gujirat ports, stopped all the 
importsjrom South Malabar and reduced the people to such straits that they had to eat coriander seed with their ' pan,' instead 
«J betel-nut, the usual concomitant of the leaf. 

X Bombay Gazetteer, I. II, c3. . || Eriggs Translation of Farishtah, iv, 62-156. 

§ The Mir-a-ti Siltan'-ai (KUan Bahad'ir Failullah, 1 Bombay Gazetteer, I. II, 33. 

"'^T")- •• Khan Bahadur Fazlnllab's Translation, 75. 


news was brought that hia slave-admiral Malik Ayaz had inflioted a grievous defeat upon 
ihei Portuguese near Bombay, sinking one of their largest vessels and killing nearly 20,000 men. 
The check thus given to the Portuguese was of only a temporary nature ; for from the year 
A.D. 1536, when Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat died, they gradually but surely strengthened their 
influence and hold upon all the ports of the Western littoral from Diu to Goa, being assisted in 
no small degree by the internecine dissensions which broke out among the nobles of Gujarat. 

By the year 1572 the old Sultanate was swept away ; and upon its ruins rose the 
Mughal dominion, established by Akbar, whose moderation and friendly feeling towards the 
Portuguese is attributed partly to the presence in his seraglio of a certain lady of Portugal, 
and partly also to the guidance of Rodolfo Aquaviva, the Jesuit father, who, together with 
Antonio de Monserrato and Francisco Enriques, was summoned by Akbar from Goa.* 

Here then ends the tale of our island during the period of Mahommedan supremacy. 
The very indefiniteness of the story seems to us proof of the comparative indiflference displayed 
by the Moslem towards our Heptanesia, and of the shadowy nature of their dominion over 
these islands. Search, as one may, for proofs of their connection with Bombay, one cannot 
with cerlsunty say more than this, that the ancestors of our Konkani Mahommedans once dwelt 
in Mahim, that a Moslem commandant and garrison were from time to time stationed on the 
island, and that on four or five occasions our island gave shelter to stern warriors, who chose it 
-as the scene of their struggles with the servants of other Moslem potentates. We are inclined 
to believe that Musulman supremacy was little more than theoretical, and that the care of the 
people, and internal administration were practically in the hands of tributary Hindu Rais or 
•Chieftains, such as he of Mahim, who married his daughter to a prince of the Ahmedabad 
Monarchy in 1432, or the Rai of Bhiundi, who according to a stone relic bearing the date 1464, 
was in the habit of making grants of land to the inhabitants of his possessions. And this being so, 
one is better able to understand the almost complete absence of Musulman relics, rich either in 
architectural beauty or in historical interest. Our Heptanesia had passed from the position of a 
chosen land, the new home of sturdy colonists and politicians like Bhimdev of Pattan, to that 
of a small and unimportant military outpost, the civil administration of which was entrusted 
to petty Hindu Chiefs, who, being tributaries, did not feel it incumbent upon them to prosecute 
with vigour the further colonisation and enrichment of their territories. 

It was not till after the establishment of Portuguese rule upon the western coast of 
India, not till after Musulman coast-villages had been burned, the men butchered and the women 
led away captive in the bitter crusade, waged by the devotees of the Virgin against the followers 
of the Prophet, that the bulk of the higher-class Mahommedan population emigrated to our 
island. And it was not till 1818 A. D., that any Mahommedan writer was found to point 
proudly to Bombay, lying midway between the islands of Salsette and Kolaba, and say " The 
best of all things are the middlemost." t 

A final word is permissible on the subject of the Naitias or Kokani Mahommedans. Their 
■original home in these islands was, as we have seen, at Mahim. On the advent of the Portuguese, 
large numbers of them who dwelt upon the shores of the mainland, emigrated to Bombaj'- proper 
^nd founded a colony on land subsequently included within the Fort. Following at first the 
profession of ship-masters, ndklwdas, ships' officers and sailors, the community gradually 
throve, turned its attention to commerce and official business, and rapidly became the most 
influential Mahommedan class in Bombay. In consequence of the scare caused in Bombay 
by the troubles with Haider Ali, and by the ofFer of Napoleon Buonaparte to assist 
^' Citoyen Tippu " and subsequently in consequence of the great fire, the old Mahommedan com- 
munity of the Fort was given building sites in " Old Nagpada " and other regions, situated to 
t;he north-west of the present site of the Crawford Markets ; and again, when the present Infantry 
lines to the east of the markets were constructed, a large number of Konkani dwellings were 
removed to new streets northward of the Paidhoni or Foot-wash. 

* Ain-i-Akbari, Elliot, iv., 60. Also B^och^l^nn. 

+ These are the words of a nameless Persian traveller, who wrote " the Jan-i-Eambai " in A.D. 1818. 


The one architectural legacy of early Mahoinmedan rule is the shrine of the Saint Makhdum 
Fakih Ali Paru, built upon the eastern side of the town of Mahim. The.inner side of the dome^ 
which rises above the shrine, is ornamented with an Arabic inscription in gilt, givingthe name and 
dates of the birth and death of the Saint. Southward thereof lies the grave of his mother 
and other kindred. During the rule of the Mughals (in H. 1085 A. D. 1674), and shortly after 
Bombay had become a British possession, the shrine was wholly repaired. To the north* of the 
domed enclosure is a wooden mosque, near which stands a very ancient step-well, doubtless in- 
tended for the ablutions of the Faithful. From the position of certain old graves and other 
mural structures, which are only revealed to view at low-tide, it appears that the sea was origi- 
nally at a far greater distance from the shrine than it is at present : and in all probability, at the 
hour when the Hindu Eai ruled the land under the eye of a military olBcial of Gujarat, our 
island of Mahim covered a considerably wider area than in 1843, when Mr. Murphy prepared his- 
chart of the seven islands of Bombay.* 

* The following note upon the mosques and shrines of Bombay has ;^b( en kindly supi lied by Khan Bahadur 
Fazlnlbh Lalfnllah :— 

"Except the ./ania Mosque none of the mosques of Bombay claim any great mtiquity. The date cf the con' 
sttnction of the Jamii Mosque is derivable from the chronogram uy j^ ) J La Jahdei-dkhirat or " the ship of the world to 

come '' in allusion to the structure being erected over a tank, and the value of the letters— jaMz and alcliirat ^amounts to (H)- 
1217^A. D. 1802. The tank over which the mosque was built formed, it is said, part of f.n old temple which stood near tho 
mosque. It was transferred by Government to a certain influential headman of the rich Jamd-dt of batchers, whose name was- 
Nathii PatteU. It was at first too small to with justice lay claim to the title Jama or Jamil the mcsqne which collectively 
can hold the whole prayer-saying faithful of a town*. It was rebuilt, it is said, in the mutiny year by the non-Konkani 
Musalmans, chiefly with the help of the butchers. It was again repaired and extended at d enlarged in 1837, at the expeuse- 
of Mr. Muhammad Ali Boghay. A storey was added to it and shops to serve as the demesne of the mosque added. The 
income of aU the properties with which the mosque is endowed amounts to no less than Es. 50,000 annually. The mosque and 
its properties are managed by a board consisting of twelve directors and a Nazir. The ofBce i f the Nazir has lately been entrusted 
to a Musalman gentleman, a Konkani, who is a graduate of the Bombay University. The Konkani element also predominates lu 
the directorate of the institution. The staff of the Jdmi mosque consists of an Imam or Prayer-leader whose duties are to lead the- 
prayers on Fridays and the two Id holidays. He has two assistants to call the Tekbii — the Azan, or prayer- call— and help him 
in taking his place during small every-day prayers. There is attached to the mosque a well paid staff of teachers, afnlly qualified 
Maulavi and several assistants. It is the duty of this staff to give gratuitous instruction to any Mnsahna'n who is desirous- 
of receiving it in religion'' matters, both from Arabic and Persian books. Besides this, the chief or Jami Mosque, 
there are the Sat-Tar Mosque, situated in the quarter of that name near Masjid Bander, with a a annual income of Es. Jl,0O0,, 
the Zakaiiyyah Mosque built by Hilji Zakariyyah, the great Memon philanthroj ist, at Khadak near Mandvi, with an income- 
ofBs. 5,000, theltmail Habib Mosque near Paidhownie (Rs. 4,500), There aie, besides these, many small mosques, each 
street and community having generally a mosque of its own. 

Then there is the shrine of Sheikh Misri atSivri. It is noticed in Mr. Murphy's Map of Bombay, 1843. There is a 
shrine of Sayyid Eadiuddin t at Bhindi Bazaar. Umarkhadi has the shrines of Sayyid Nizamuddin J and Sayyid Badruddin, 
Dongi-i has the shiine of a saint named Ashik Shflh. §, Sat-'J'ar that of Sayyid E nsein ||, Don-Tiir that of Sayyid Hisa'm l?d- 
diu.H Cawasji Pattell's Tank has the shrine of Sana Shilh. In the Esplanade, adjoining the G. I. P. Railway line, there is the 
small cottage-like shrine of Pedro-Shah** a Christian-Convett to Islam who obtained the honour of sanctity. Within the 
compound of the station and to its south-east is the shrine of Bismillah Shah. There is the cenotaph of ShAh Taval in 
Eiimbharwada, that of Shah Madtir in Don-Tar and another in Bhindi Bazaar. F eir the Kolabi Light House Saint Shah. 
Hasan Ghazati lies enshrined. There is the shrine of Mama Hajani at the end of the Hornby TeUard. This is included 
in Murphy's Map (1843), but the more prospeious shrine of Haji Ali, at the head of the VeUird, at a Httle distance from the- 
shore on a small rook, is not shown in the plan. 

* The wtrd J<Jm; or collective is generally confounded with ./i4m(i=a Friday. Mcsques of the dimersions of this- 
mosque are called Jima mosques from a mistaken totion of being nosques where the Friday prayers are said. 

t Died H. 1205 A.D. 1790. § Die! H. 1209 A.D, 1794. t Oiei H. 1251 A.D. 1835. 

t » H. 1207 A.D. 1792. |1 „ fl, 1232 A.D. 1816. " „ H. 1245 A.D. 1829. 



The third period of our island's history, dealing with the characteristics and legacies of 
Tortuguese proprietorship, commences, properly speaking, with the cession of the island in 
1534 by Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat. But for a clearer perception of the gradual growth of 
Portuguese influence, it were well to take a backward glance towards the opening years of the 
sixteenth century, and briefly remark the chain of events, which eventually culminated in the 
inclusion of our island among the possessions of the King of Portugal. 

In the latter half of December 1508, then, we find Don Francisco de Almeida, the 
first Portuguese Viceroy of Goa, setting sail from Cannanoro to Diu with a fleet of 19 
vessels, and 1,600 soldiers and marines, four hundred of whom hailed from the Malabar Coast. 
The object of the Viceroy was to punish ' Mir Hosain ' ( Amir Hussein ), who had been des- 
patched by Mamluk, Sultan of Cairo, with an Egyptian fleet to expel the men of Portugal from 
India. Leaving Angediva, the Portuguese fleet headed direct for Dabhol, then a city of consi- 
derable wealth and influence, and reached the port on the 30th December. The Portuguese 
wasted no time in getting ashore, divided their forces into three parties, and commenced a 
simultaneous attack upon the three city gates. The defence of the city was courageously 
maintained, until the Viceroy seeing that a flanking movement alone gave hopes of success, 
deputed Nunc Vaz Pereira to force an entry by another path. The defenders thus attacked 
In rear, became demoralized and fled, some to the mosques and others to the mountains ; and 
the engagement, which had lasted for five hours and resulted in a Portuguese loss of sixteen 
men and of fifteen hundred on the side of the defenders, came to an abrupt conclusion. The 
booty captured by the Portuguese am'Ounted to 1,50,000 ducats ; but all looting on a large 
scale was prevented by the firing and speedy destruction of the town. Leaving Dabhol on the 
5th January 1509, the Portuguese paid their first visit to our island on the twenty-first day of 
the same month ; for having seized a Gujarat barque in ' the river of Bombay, ' the cargo of 
which did not satisfy their requirements, they landed at Mahim for the purpose of obtaining 
wood and other necessaries. So frightened were the inhabitants at the recent fate of Dabhol 
that they fled from the Fort, and allowed the new arrivals to land unmolested. According to 
Gaspar Correa, author of the ' Lendas, ' " the Viceroy departed from Dabhol, passed by Chaul 
which he did not enter, to avoid delay, and cast anchor at Bombay where the people terrified fled 
away. Our men captured many cows and somfe blacks, who were hiding among the bushes, and 
of whom the good were kept and the rest were killed. The Viceroy, happening to see a well 
disposed black being carried away, ordered him to be set free, on condition of his taking oath 
according to his law, that he would convey a letter to Diu and deliver it to Malik Ayaz. The 
poor black, delighted at the prospect of freedom, consented and the letter was delivered to 
Malik Ayaz twenty days before the arrival of the fleet." 

Towards Diu the expedition then proceeded, and arrived on the 2nd February 1509. 
Between 9 and 10 o'clock on the following morning a sharp engagement took place between 
the Portuguese and Malik Ayaz, who with Mir Hosain had prepared to resist the attack 
with a fleet of 200 vessels. The Portuguese gained a complete victory, the ships of ihe 
Musulmans were plundered, Mir Hosain was seriously wounded, and the colours of the 
"" Soldan " (Sultan) were despatched as a trophy to Portugal. 

The victory of Diu doubtless heightened the desire of Portuguese to build a fortress at that 
place, and led to the despatch of two embassies, one in 1513 and another in 1514, to Sultan 
Bahadur, for the purpose of negotiating for a site. Owing to the action of Malik Ayaz, the 
embassies met with little success ; bat, when the second, consisting of Diogo Fernandes, Diogo 
Teixeira, and a Hindu interpreter, Ganapotam (Qanpatrao), conferred with the Sultan at 
Madoval (Ahmedabad), our island of Mahim was offered as an alternative site. This, however, 

by the ambassadors, on the ground that they were not authorised to accept 



In 1517, during the Governorship of Dom Soares de Albergaria, one hears of Dom Jo o 
de Monroyo entering the Bandora creek with even pinnaces and defeating the Commandant of 
the Mahim Fort. " Monroyo, " writes Barras, " arrived at the river of Mahim, where he found 
a ship coming from the Red Sea with merchandise. The crew, to save themselves, entered the 
river and ran aground. They saved themselves with the best they had, and the rest was taken 
by our men, who carried all to Chaul. At this capture the Captain of Mahim, named Nequeji 
(Shaik-ji), took great affront, not only by reason of the vessel having been captured before his 
eyes, but also because his fortress had been bombarded. On the departure of our men, he hastily 
despatched three pinnaces after them, to stop the passage at Chaul point. Having attacked our 
men, the latter behaved in such a manner that his pinnaces took to flight.* " 

Between 1522 and 1524, when Dom Duarte de Minezes was Governor of Goa, the 
Portuguese were constantly prowling in the neighbourhood of Bombay for the ships of the 
Mahommedan, and on one occasion drove Malik Ayaz and his fleet to take shelter in Bombay 
harbour; while in 1528-29 Lopo Vaz with 40 ships, 1,000 Portuguese and some native levies,, 
overtook the Gujarat fleet on its voyage from Chaul to Diu near the island of Bombay, defeated 
and destroyed half the enemy's ships, and captured a considerable number of prisoners and a, 
quantity of cannon and ammunition. He then seized a fort (Mahim Fort) " belonging to the 
King of Cambay," who was at war with " Nizamuluco, the Lord of Chaul," and handed it over- 
to the latter. " The fleet of the King of Cambay," writes Gasper Correa, " consisted of 68 
pinnaces under the command of a son of Camalmaluco (Kamal Malik), Governor and Captain of 
Diu, and of Alii Shah. Lopo Vaz de Sampayo with his fleet anchored off a small island, where the 
pinnaces of Alii Shah also lay. The latter went away with his rowing boats to the mouth of the 
Thana river and there cast anchor. During the night the Governor sent Vincent Correa to spy upon 
the enemy. He saw all their boats drawn up at the landing-place, with the exception of two 
which kept watch at the mouth of the river. Alii Shah under cover of night sailed for the 
Nagotna river, with 20 well-equipped galleons, having galleries at the stern adorned with pictures 
(texts from the Koran). Thither followed Lopo Vaz, and ordered Heitor de Silveira to engage the 
enemy in battle, which he accomplished successfully, returning to the fleet with a prize of 22 fustas. 
The latter then pursued the fugitive Alii Shah to a neighbouring fortress, pillaged the country 
and captured much artillery. To escape further annoyance, the Thanadar of Thana made 
himself tributary to the Portuguese, and promised to pay them annually a sum of 2,000 pardaos. 
Heitor de Silveira then returned to Bombay, where he was received with great ovations ; and 
when on the 20th March 1529, the Viceroy returned to Goa, Heitor was left behind with 20 
bargatins, 2 galleots and 300 men to harass the coast as far as Cambay. It was during the 
three months previous to the burst of the monsoon that Heitor and his men made repeated 
incursions into our island of Bombay and neighbouring isles, and gave the title of ' a ilho da 
boa vida ' (the Island of the Good Life) to our Heptanesia, in view of the abundant food,, 
refreshment and enjoyment which they supplied, f 

It was in connection with the decision and attempt to capture the fortress of Diu in 
1530-31, that our island again comes into prominence. " Melique Soca, " the Captain of the 
Fort, having been deprived of his position by Sultan Bahadur, approached the Governor of Goa, 
Nuno da Cunha, and suggested a joint capture of the citadel. Nunc da Cunha, agreeing to the 
suggestion, provided the Malik with a pass and with a fleet under the command of Gaspar Paes, . 
and then set about preparations for an attack upon his own account. He collected the largest 
fleet ever seen in India, consisting of " 400 sail including many large ships, but mostly small 
vessels fitted out by natives ", $ held a grand naval review in the harbour of Bombay, and a 
general parade of all his forces upon the plain, now known as the Esplanade, " taking a roll . 
from each captain of the Portuguese soldiers and sailors, and of the captive slaves who could 
fight and assist and the number of musketeers and of the people such as servants. " $ Th© 

* Deoadaa, p. 71, Tol. Ill, Book I, Chap. HI. 

t Dr. da Cunha suggests that our island was the original of Camoens ' ' Isle of Love. ' 

t DaBvers' Pottugnese in India. 


muster showed the forces to consist of 3,600 soldiers and 1,460 seamen (all Portuguese) 2,000 
men from Malabar and Kanara, 8,000 slaves, 5,000 native seamen and 3,000 musketeers. The 
review ended, the fleet sailed to Damaun, which was speedily captured, and thence to the island 
of Bete (Shial Bet), which surrendered after a stern struggle. Diu was bombarded, but 
managed to hold out against the besiegers ; whereupon Nuno da Cunha retired to Goa, leaving 
-Antonio Saldanha with 60 vessels to cruise in the Gulf of Oambay and harass the enemy. In 
March and April of the year 1531 Saldanha rapidly seized and burned the cities of Mohuva, 
Gogo, Bulsar, Tarapur, Mahim,* Khelva, Agasi and Surat • then, leaving the fleet in charge 
of Dom Antonio de Silveira, embarked for Goa. 

In 1532 we hear of N-uno da Cunha taking the city of Bassein ; and finally making 
Thana, Bandora, the island of Mahim and the island of Bombay tributary to the Portuguese. 

Meanwhile Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat had grown apprehensive of the power of th& 
Moghal, and observing the successes obtained by Portuguese arms, determined to enlist their 
aid. Accordingly in 1534 he despatched " Shah Khawajeh" to the Portuguese, with an offer 
to hand over Bassein with all its dependencies and revenues by sea and land.t On the 23rd 
December 1534 was signed on board the galleon St. Matheus by Dr. Garcia da'Orta, Martim 
Affonso and others, the Treaty of Bassein, whereby Sultan Bahadur " gave and bequeathed to 
the King of Portugal from that day forth and for ever the City of Bassein, its territories, 
islands, and seas, with all its revenues, in the same way as he, the Sultan Bahadur, King of 
Gujarat, held them before, provided all vessels from the Kingdom of Gujarat bound for _ the 
Red Sea should first call at Bassein for passes and on return voyage call there again, in order 
to pay duties under penalty and risk of seizure." 

Thus passed onr Keptanesiu out of the hands of the Mahommedan and became the pro- 
perty of the men of Portugal. 

The surrender of Bassein and Bombay was confirmed a year later by a treaty of peace 
and commerce between Sultan Bahadur and Nuno da Cunha, dated October 25th, 1535, whereby 
also the Portuguese were permitted to carry out the long-desired work of building a fortress at 
Diu. Durinc the ten years which followed the Portuguese were constantly at war with Adil 
Khan the Gujarat King in the North, and with the Zamorin of Calicut in the South ; while 
troubles arose also at Malacca, and Diu was besieged by the Turks under " Soleyman Badshaw," 
Governor of Cairo. The main result was the impoverishment of the Portuguese Treasury, and 
complete inability on the part of Portugal to suitably reward the services of her distioguished 

This lack of money may, in some degree, have necessitated the grant of lands as rewards 
for meritorious actions, and given rise to the feudal system of tenure, which obtained in our 
islands throughout the era of Portuguese dominion. On the other hand, it must be remembered 
that under the Sultans of Gujarat, a system approximating to the feudal, had been in force 
throucrhout Bassein, Bombay, Salsette and the neighbouring islands. Whatever may have been 
the origin of the system, it is well-known that from 1534 onwards, all the territory, of which the 
Portuguese were masters, was divided up into manors or fiefs, the land being granted to 
deserving persons at a nominal rental of 4 to 10 per cent., and the leases being renewable either 
yearly triennially, or, in some cases, for a period of one to three lives. For distinguished 
services and to Churches or Religious orders, the lands were granted in perpetuity. In return, 
the King of Portugal claimed military service from the tenant, which might be commuted into 
a tax at the discretion of the authorities and Comptroller of the Treasury. 

In the general distribution of estates, which occurred after 1534, the third of our Hepta- 
nesia the old island of Mumbadevi or Mumbai was let to one Mestre Diogo, as tenant or foreiro, 
for an annual quit-rent of l,432i pardaos, payable at the Royal Treasury in Bassein. The 
precise terms and date of this early lease are unknown. Dom Sim^o Botelho, who was 

» Danvers, p. 402, gives Mahim : but Dr. da Cnnlia holds that the town of Kelve-Mahim ia meant. 
t Danvers' Pwtnguese ia India, p. 416, 


"Comptroller during this early period, mentions in his " Tombo" that, " according, to the old 
foral or rent-roll, the income of our island and its dependencies was 14,400 foedeas, and later 
1,375 pardaos. The island or Kasba of Mahim was rented for 36,057 foedeas ; and the Man- 
dovim, that is the Mandvi or Custom House of Mahim, for 37,975 foedeas,* The island of Mazagon 
yielded 8,500 foedeas, Mombaym or Bombay 17,000. The four villages of Parel, Vadala, Sion 
and Worli were granted by the Viceroy, Dom Joao de Castro, to Manuel Serrao for 41 2 pardaos j 
while the villages of Trombay and Chimbur were given to Dom Roque Telles de Mioezes, and the 
Mandovim of Walkeshvar to a Hindu, named ' Posaji,' for 60 foedeas. Simao Botelho refers 
io these places in his " Tombo " under the titles of Parell, Varella, Varel, Syva, Turumba, 
Chambur and Valepuecar. 

Whether Mestre Diogo was really the first lord of the manor, as stated by Simao Botelho, 
is open to some doubt ; but in 1538 Garcia da Orta, the celebrated physician and botanist, who 
had journeyed to India four years previously with Martin Affonso de Souza, the Admiral of the 
Indian Seas, and had acted as one of the signatories of the Treaty of Bassein, became the owner of 
Bombay on payment of a yearly quit-rent of 1,432^ pardaos, or some £85 sterling. In his 
^' Conversations on Drugs," the worthy physician speaks of the third of our Heptanesia, as *' the 
island of which the King had made him a gift, he paying a quit-rent for it " ( " Mombaim terra 
e ilha de que EI Rei nosso senhor me fez meroe, aforada em fatiota "). 

Let us glance for a moment at the value of the island about this date. Previous to the year 
1534, the quit- rent of the island is stated to have been 14,400 foedeas, which in all probability 
represents the rent paid during the era of Musulman dominion to the Gujarat monarchs, A 
year later the rent was changed to 17,000 foedeas, in 1536 to ^3,000 foedeas, in 1537 to 29,000 
and in 1538 to 27,000 foedeas. In 1539 we remark a further enhancement to 26,292 foedeas, 
in 1540 to 28,140, in 1541 to 28,000, in 1542 to 30,000, in 1543 to 31,000 and in 1544 and 
1545 to 38,500 foedeas. In 1546 a quit-rent of 1,175 pardaos, and in 1548 of 1,432| pardaos 
was payable by the lord of the manor. The value of the island, therefore, increased considerably 
subsequent to its acquisition by the Portuguese, about the date of which event the total revenues 
of our Heptanesia were classified as follows : — Mahim land Xs, 1,098 ; Customs Xs. 1,239 ; 
Mazagaum Xs. 300, Mombaim Xs. 698 ; Total Xs. 3,335. t 

The most noteworthy feature of the island was the " Quinta " or Manor-house, which, 
according to Sir James Campbell, was built some time between 1528 and 1626, on the spot 
where the Arsenal now stands, behind the Town Hall. The nucleus of what Fryer descrijjed 
in later years as " a pretty well-seated but ill-fortified house " must have been in existence at 
"the time Garcia da Orta owned the island, and was situated, as old records tell, " in a park with 
pleasure grounds, at the oaqah^ of Bombaim, the principal seat of the island near the little fort." 
We hear of this building in 1626, when David Davies, the English navigator, who describes it 
as a combined warehouse, priory and fort, makes the following entry in the log-book of his 
ship, "the Discovery" :— " The 13th October we went into the Bay of Bombay and rode without 
the stakes. The 14th, the 'Morris ' and the Dutch ships went in near the Great House to batter 
against it, in which battery three of the ' Morris ' ordnance split ; the same day we landed 
300 men, English and Dutch, and burnt all their cadjan houses and took the Great House with 
two Basses (small cannon) of brass and one Saker (heavy cannon) of iron. The 1 5th, all our 
men embarked aboard the ships, being Sunday in the evening, and left the Great House, which 
was both a warehouse, a priory and a fort, all afire, burning with other good houses, together 
with two new frigates not yet from the stocks nor fully ended ; but they had carried away all 
their treasure and all things of any value, for all were run away before our men landed." J 

Of the products of the island Dr. Garcia da Orta particularly mentions the cocoanut palm, 
the Brab palm, the Jack fruit tree, the Jambul {Eugenia jamlmlaria) Snd the Jangoma, of 
which veuy few specimens still exist in Bombay. Lastly there were mango-trees, one of which 

* One foedea was = 15 reis ; 4 foedeas = 1 tanga ; 5 tangas = 1 pardao ; 15 reia =4 pieB, or ^ of an annii. 'I he 
poorer people to this day speak of one pice, English coinage, as a ' foedea.' 
t Unpablished Records printed at Lisbon in 1S68, Vol. V, p. 42. 
I Bepoit upon the Old Records of the India Office, by Sir George Birdwood, pp. 214-216, * 


•supplied the lord of the manor with fruit " t-wioe a yeair, once about Christmas, and again at the 
end of. May. "* To tKis day there exist in Mazagon two trees, which bear a double, crop of 
■mangoes e\'ery year 5 while in the village of Vaddem, Goa, one D. Maria rurificaQao de Minezes 
<)wns a tree,-^ which bears fruit all the year round, and is usually rented to His Excellency the 
Governor of G6a. ■ Cocoaiiuts and rice formed the staple products of the island of Mahim • 
Mazagoli'and Siori were rioted for their salt-pans, while the nuriierous settlements of Kolis were 
responsible for a latge supply of fish, which was dried upon the islands and then forwarded to 
Bassein for sale to the Moors (Mahommedans). ' 

And what of the population of our Heptanesia ? So far as existing records show, Bombay 
was composed of seven villages subordinate to two ca9abes or chief stations, at which Customs duty 
was levied. ' These villages were Mahim, Pare], Varella (Vadala) arid Syva (Sion), under the 
cagabe of Mahim, and Mazagon, Bombaim and Varel (Worli) under the cacabe of Bombaim.f 
In addition to these seven villages, however, there must have been smaller settlements, such as 
Kol-war or Cavel, the Kola-bhat or Colaba village, Naigaon, Dongri, and others, which had 
•existed from the date of old Hindu colonisation. The ca^abS of Bombaim was not very populous, 
for it contained some years later only " eleven Portuguese cazados or married settlors, and some 
native blacks (pr«fos nafwmw), making altogether seventy musketeers able to serve in war. " f 
The latter were probably of Koli or Bhandari caste. The Kolis formed, perhaps, the most 
numerous class at this date, and dwelt all over our Heptanesia from Colaba in the south to Sion 
and Mahim in the norf.h. Wearing then, as now, their distinctive emblem, a knife suspended 
from the neck, these aboriginal colonists, for the most part, followed the callings of fishing 
und agriculture, though a few may have •been forced to relinqnish these duties for that 
of palanquin-bearing, which formed the subject of many a petition and appeal during 
the earlier years of the British occupation. Avery much smaller community was that of the 
Moors (Mahommedans), who, according to Garcia da Orta, were solely traders by sea. " They 
possessed the land first, " writes the worthy physician, " and are called ' Naitias,' which means 
■mixed or made up firat of the Moors who came from abroad and mixed themselves with the 
gentiles (Hindus) of this land." One cannot help believing that a few Mahommedans of less 
mixed descent v/ere settled in Mahim or the cacabe of Bombaim ; but the bulk of the followers 
■of Islam clearly belonged to the Konkani Musulman community, whose Arab and Persian ancestors 
had taken unto themselves wives from among the Hindu inhabitants of the West Coast of India, 
Then there were the Kunhis and Agris (Curumbinsi, " who cultivated the fields and sowed them 
^vith rice and all sorts of pulse " ; there were Malis, who tended the orchards, and whom the 
Portugnese called 'Hortelaos'; and thirdly " Piaes" {i.e. peons) or men-at-arms. We incline 
to the belief that these were Bhandaris, descendants of the men who came with Bhim Eaja and 
who he'd the island of Mahim for 8 yeais against the Mahommedan under the leadership of their 
Sirdars, the Bhongles, At any rate, during the early British period, the Bhandaris are spoken 
of as '' being bred to arms from their infancy, and having a courage and fidelity which may be 
<lepended upon," and as having shewn "notorious courage and zeal in the defence of the island, 
when it was invaded by the Sidi." Many of them were among the earliest converts to Christia- 
nity, and were organised by the English into a Militia, which was retained until the growth of 
the native army and the appointment of a local police force rendered their services no longer 
necessary. Other descendants of Bhima's retinue were also dwelling in Mahim, Bombay, ami 
Parel ; are spoken of as " Parus," that is to say, Prabhus, " who collect the rents of the King and 
•of the inhabitants and their estates, and are also merchants." Three other communities are 

* Dr. da Cnnha tells of another mango tree (Mrs. Hough's) in 1866, which fruited twice a year. In both oases a seTere 
injury to the tree, when it was young is held to have been the cause of the phenomenon. But the late Colonel Dymock, 
J.M,S., author of "Medicinal Plants of Western India," does not agree with {his yiew, stating that there are njany such trees on 
Malabar Hill. 

t When the island was ceded to the English, its revenues were :— 

Mazagon... ; ... ' ... Xs. 9,300 Sion... „ Xs. 790 

Mahim ... Xs. 4,797 Worli Xs. 571 

Parel '. ... Xs. 2,377 Bombay Xs. 6,,034 

Vadala .:.' Xs. 1,738 

J Antonio Bocarro ' Livrodas Plantas das Fortalezae.' 


mentioned by Dr. Garcia da Orfa as inhabiliug the territories of Bassein, '' the Banes^nes '*■ 
(Banias), who are such as fullj- obsers^e the preqepts of Pj-thagoras," the " Coaris or Esparcis "■ 
(Parais), " whom we Portuguese call Jews,'^ and «' the Deres" or"Farazes," " a people despised and 
hated by all. They do not touch others, they eat everything, even dead things. Each village 
gives them its leavings to eat. Their task is to cleanse the dirt from houses and streets." Of 
these three classes, the last named alone probably dwelt upon our island during the earlier period 
of Portuguese dominion. The nature of their duties must have rendered their presence a. 
necessity in both ca^abes ; but the Banias and Parsis did not, so far as one can judge, actually 
form settlements upon our Heptanesia, until after the English had laid the foundations of their 
world-wide trade. 

Now the history of Portuguese dominion in Western India is, to a largo extent, the history 
of the foundation and growth of their religious orders : and it was not long before our Heptanesia. 
became acquainted with them. Shortly after the year 1534, and during the episcopate of Dom 
Fr. Joao de Alphonso de Albuquerque, a Franciscan friar, Fr. Antonio de Porto, set sail for 
Bassein and Bombay. One of the conditions of the Treaty of Bassein was that " a sum of 5,000 
larins (a Persian coin= six pence), which had hitherto been applied out of the revenues of 
Bassein to the Moslem mosques, was to continue to be so applied : " but so vigorously did Fr., 
Antonio and others of his order set about the dissemination of their creed, that an order was passed 
by the King of Portugal to utilise all such moneys for the benefit of missions in Bombay and; 
Bassein. Besides converting some ten thousand natives in Bassein, Thana, Mandapeshvar and 
neighbouring localities, the Franciscans also built the well-known Church of St. Michael, whicL 
exists to this day in Upper Mahim, at the north-end of the Lady Jamsetji Eoad, opposite to the 
Collector's bungalow. Dom Antonio Pedro da Costa, late Archbishop of Damaun, remarks in his' 
"Reiatorioda Nova Diocese," that "Foiesta egroga fundada em 1510, ^ a primevia que os 
Portugueses edificaram na ilha de Bombaim ; " which, being interpreted, means "this church 
was built in 1510, and is the first that the Portuguese built in the island of Bombay." The 
statement is only partially correct ; for, while admittedly the oldest Franciscan building in our 
island, this church was not built until after the arrival of Fr. Antonio, who reached our shoves 
about A. D. 1534. 

The keynote of Portuguese action is given in that historic remark of Vasco da Gama,. 
" Vimos buscar Christaos e especiaria " (we come to seek Christians and spices). But the Chris- 
tian was in their eyes of for more importance than the spices ; and they could- not perceive 
that the forcible convei-sion of the one was in the end likely to overthrow the trade in the other .. 
That our Heptanesia were suitably situated for becoming the trade-centre of Western India, has 
been proved by later events ; and had the Portuguese Government been able to restraia the 
troublesome and wanton acts of oppression "which their religious orders occasionally practised 
under the cloak of proselytising zeal, the population of Portuguese territory would not only 
have not decreased, but might also have increased simultaneously with an increase of the islands'' 
trade-relations. But the desire to include the heathen within the fold was paramount • and 
consequently the Franciscan mission was followed in 1542 by a Jesuit mission, the most notable 
member of which was St. Francis Xavier, and in 1548 by the Dominican Order, established at 
Goa in 1545 by one Diogo Bermudes, who constantly, during his tours of inspection, visited our 
islands to confer with his friend, Garcia da Orta. St. Francis Xavier lost no time in obtaining 
for the Jesuit Order a share of the money which was formerly set aside for the benefit of the 
mosques ; and by the year 1570 " the Paulestines," as the Jesuits were called, were resident in 
every town and village of Portuguese territory, and had commenced building the church of 
St. Andrew at Pandora. Both Franciscan and Jesuit vied with one another in the erection of 
churches and the conversion of the inhabitants of our islands. We hear of a chapel, dedicated 
to " Nossa Senhora de Bom Conselho," being built at Sion and affiliated to the church of St. 
Michael in 1596 ; and in the same year of a church of " Our Lady of Salvation " being erected 
at Dadar. Both churches were the outcome of Franciscan zeal, and both exist among us to this 
day. The latter indeed is now the richest of all churches, possesses landed property and several 
cocoanut groves, has three affiliated chapels at Parol, Worli and Matunga, and a large house,. 


vfhieh has served on various oooasioHS as the Portuguese episcopal residence. It was to this- 
cbuivsh that Dr, Fryer referred in 1673, in the words "at Salvasong the Franciscans enjoy 
another chui-ch and convent," The Franciscans were the original ownei-s of " that Romish 
chapel" at Parel, which was confiscated from the Jesuits in 1719, and after serving as " Old 
Government House" and the I'esideace of the present King-Emperor during his visit to 
Bombay, as Prince of Wales, has finally been transformed into a Plague Hospital and 
Laboratory for the preparation of preventive and curative plague-serum. By the year 1585 
the Fransoiscans had received charge of Mandapeshvai', Mahim, Bombay, Karanja, Mount 
Calvary and Agashi, in each of which places was a state-paid official, known as " Pai 
dos Christaos." Their power, and that of the Jesuits also, gradually but surely increased .: 
a church of Nossa Senhora de Esperan^a, Our Lady of Hope, rose upon the plain now 
called the Esplanade ; and the aboriginal settlers of the Kol-var or Cavel became its earliest 
parishioners. The Romish ecclesiastics earned larger revenues than even the King of 
Portugal himself ; they founded a college at Bandra, which conferred degrees upon all manner 
of persons, and,iaccording to a writer of the seventeenth century, " was not inferior as to the 
building nor much unlike those of our universities " ; they lived sumptuously, and were in 
general so influential that even the General of the North at Bassein felt his position to be- 
precarious. " Few men," wrote Ovington in later years, " can enjoy very peaceable lives who 
have any fair possessions near the convents of the Jesuits ; a pleasant seat and a fruitful 
plantation can hardly escape their gaining."* One of the most remarkable portions of our 
Heptanesia, which escaped absorption by Franciscan or Jesuit priests was the island of 
Mazao-on. By a Royal patent signed at Goa on the J 8th January 1572, the island was 
oranted in perpetuity to the De Souza family, Lionel oe Souza having married Donna Anna- 
Pessoa, the daughter of A.ntonio Pessoa, to whom Dom Joao de Castro had originally granted 
the island in 1547 on payment of an annual quit-rent of 195 pardaos. The revenues of the 
island had risen from 8,500 foedeas in 1534 to 550 pardaos in 1547. The patent of 1572 
laid down that " the village of Mazagao is given to Lionel de Souza for ever and to his heirs, 
paying every year 195 gold pardaos and three silver tangas of six and-a-balf double pice each. 
On the death of Lionel de Souza the village is to remain with Donna Anna Pessoa, Ray de Souza 
and Manoel de Souza, his wife and sons, that is to say, one half of the income to the two sons."' 
In the event of the sons dying before Donna Anna, the estate was to be shared by such of his- 
descendants as Lionel de Souza might nominate by will and testament. In any case, the 
village was not to be sold, exchanged, or alienated without the permission of the King of 
Portugal or the license of his Viceroy in India, 

By a later patent, dated June 3rd, 1637, the management of the Mazagon estate was- 
handed over to Ray de Souza with retrospective effect ; and " it being declared that Ray 
de Souza had no other son but Bernady D'Tavora, the King confirmed the said Bernady 
D'Tavora in the possession thereof, provided that he did not deprive the other heirs of the said 
Ray de Souza in their rights, and provided he did not sell, change or give the said village in 
any shape or manner whatever without license, as it was to fall entirely under the management 
of one person only." It was a member of this family, one Alvares Peres da Tavora, who was 
lord of Mazagon at the time the English took possession of the island, paying for it a yearly 
rental of Xeraphins 1,304-2-29. 

With the exception of some few cases, such as this, in which the lands of Bombay were 
apportioned among private persons of distinction, the bulk of the landed property had fallen 
by the close of the sixteenth century into the hands of religious orders. The Jesuits owne d 

* At the end of the seventeenth century the income of the chief ehnrch in Salaette was stfted to be of the ralue of one- 

d'a weight of gold a day. In 1598 a friar, who came from England to visit the houses and colleges of the Jesuit Society 
-Tindia was entertained at Bandora with a sham sea-fight. The Father left to be educated at Bandora College four Punjahi 
''" -I 'whom he had brought from Chaul ; then visited Thana, and founded the Church of St, Ceoilia at Poncer (Poisar). At 
B^Bsein^^ established a seminary caUed the College of the Purification, in which the children of weU-to-do natives were to be 
as missionaries. From Bassein he journeyed direct to Daman, the inference being that there were no Jesuit estab- 
vT^ent in the intervening country. At the time of the cession of Bombay to the English, the Bandora College laid claim to 
hT nd and various rights in our island. Its claims, however, were not acknowledged ; and this increased the natural 
Sme^^of the Portuguese in India at the advent of, the English to BomUy.-Jh: Godinho. 


the largest share, and were virtually the proprietors of almost all the northern parts of the island, 
suph as Mahim, Worli, Dadar, Sion,. Sewri, BycuUa and Parel.. The immense^ influence which 
on that account accrued to them might easily have been utilised for the aggrandisement of the 
Portuguese power on sea and land-; but unfortunately for the state,, under the auspices of 
which they had first set foot in Bombay and neighbouring islands, their ill-advised actions not 
only precluded the growth of population and:trade, but werea, direct source of. danger, to their 
own countrymen. The destruction of Hindoo temples and Mahommedan mosques was per- 
sistently practised, and resi^lted in the unrest and flight of those, who might under gentle 
treatment have colonised our isknds and increased their commercial importance; while the 
enormities which they permitted to be; perpetrated upon, individqals are shadowed forth in the 
writings of the Jesuit Father, Fraucisco de Souza. " There were cruising about the port of 
Bombay " says he in the ' Ciriente Oonquistado ' " two vessels belonging to Malabar Moors. 
D. Fernando de Castro, the Captain of Chaul, sent against them, Malheos Gomide who returned 
to Ohaul with one of the vessels, the Moor Captain and twenty-three prisoners. The prisoners 
were. all sentenced to death ; and six died without any one asking them if they would exchange 
iiie Koran for, the Gospel. The remainder, including the captive captain, became Christians, 
a,hd afterwards died with their captain as true soldiers of Christ!" Such treatment as this 
could not fail to alienate the people' and provoke reprisals, such as that which occurred in 
December 1570 at Thana, when ten galley loads of Malabar pirates pillaged the town and stole 
the great bell of the Cathedral, while the people were celebrating the feast of " Expectagao ", 
The intolerance of the priests, in sooth, was the cardinal point of a malady, which seized upon 
the whole frame of Portuguese supremacy. The Archbishop of Goa informed his Majesty the 
King of Portugal in 1629 that " the greatest enemies to the State in India were her own people ; 
and among all the enemies of Portugal from within, none probably did greater harm to the State 
of India than the Jesuits : " while in 1331 we find the Viceroy of Goa informing the King that 
the priests and monks paid no attention to his oi'ders; that the Jesuits had made themselves 
masters of Travancore and Tuticorin,. and of the pearl-fisheries in those places, retained bands 
of armed men at their own expense and actually waged war by sea against his Majesty's 
oaptains. They nlso held communication with the Dutch and the Moors, and had usurped 
from the State the royal jurisdiction and revenues. They even went so far as to deny that the 
King of Portugal was lord of his possessions in India, openly neglected his mandates and 
generally intrigued against the Government to which they were rightly subordinate. 

Now these internal troubles and feuds produced the inevitable result ; they paved the 
way for an advance of other European nations. One Thomas Stephens, who is stated to have 
been the first Englishman in India, was living in Goa, about 1579, as Eector of the College of 
Margao ; and thence despatched to his father, a London merchant, such advices as prompted 
the commercial community of Loudon to pay-considerable attention to the possibilities of an In- 
dian Trade. As early as 1563 a Venetian merchant had travelled to the western coast of India 
by way of the Persian Gulf, and described Cambay and Ahmedabad as places with an extensive 
commerce. He travelled from Ankola to Goa in a palanquin, and was attacked on the road by 
robbers, who stripped him naked and would have " plundered him of all he possessed if he had 
not before starting taken the precaution to conceal his valuables in a bamboo. "' But it was not 
until 1583 that the first Englishmen sot forth for the western shores of India. In that year 
Ralph Fitoh, John Newberry, Siorie and Leeds, choosing the same route as the Venetian 
arrived at Goa, where the Portuguese, suspecting that they were come to trade, cast them into 
prison. Through the mediation of Thomas Stephens they were set free, whereupon Fitch re- 
turned to England, Lee^s entered the service of the great Mogul, and one of the other two 
married an Eurasian wife and settled in Goa. 

Meanwhile certain English merchants presented a memorial to the Lords in Council 
in which permission was asked to trade with ports bordering on the Indian Ocean and the China 
Seas ; and a request was preferred for the Queen's license " for three ships and three pinnaces 
to be equipped and protected in this trade, without being subject to any other condition. than 
that of payment of customs on their return. " The memorial was favourably received and in 


1591 Captain Eaynjond was despatched with three ships, "the Penelope," "Merchant Royal" 
and the " Edward Bona venture. " The expedition met with no success; and after heavy losses at 
sea, a few survivors managed to reach Falmouth in the August of 1594. Captain Lancaster,, 
one of the survivors, set on foot another expedition, which sailed in 1596 with letters from the 
Queen to the Emperor of Chinaj and was never heard of again. At length, on the 22nd Sep- 
tember 1599, an association of '' Merchant Adventurers " was formed under the presidency of 
the Lord Mayor of London, for the purpose of establishing a trade between India and England. 
At the first general meeting of the Association, held on the 24th of the same month, it was re- 
solved to apply to the Queen for her sanction ; which being received on the 16th October^ 
1600, a fleet was prepared, and sailed from Woolwich under the command of Captain Lancas- 
ter on February 13th, 1601. Having visited Achin and established a factory at Bantam, Lan- 
caster returned with a cargo of pepper on the 11th September 1 603. Emboldened by his success 
a fresh expedition set out in the year following under the command of Hawkins of the ' Hector, ' 
who, arriving at Surat with a cargo of iron and lead, was allowed to land there peaceably, and 
thence started for Agra with a letter from King James to the Great Mogul. Failing to obtain 
permission from this potentate to establish a factory at Surat, Hawkins returned to England in 
1612. But in the meanwhile Sir Henry Middleton, who commanded the sixth voyage of the 
London East India Company, had sailed for India and anchored off the bar of Surat. Sir 
Henry had strict orders not to offer violence to the Portuguese, unless they were to openly as- 
sail him, as up to that date no collision had occurred between the representatives of the two na- 
tions in India. Of the insults put upon him by the Portuguese, of their refusal to allow him to 
trade, or to take on board Captain Sharpeigh of the " Tiades-Increase," of the engagement between 
Nunc da Ounha and Captain Best off Surat, it is not our purpose to speak here. Let it suffice to 
say that Best's dogged courage won from the Mogul a firman, authorising an English minister to 
reside at his court, and opening to the English the trade of Surat. In the January of 1615 was 
fought the naval battle at Swally, which may be said to have laid the foundation of the British 
Empire in Western India ; and from that day forward we find the English gradually strengthen- 
ing their position along the coast, joining with the Dutch in blockading Goa, and finally in 1626 
suggesting to the Dutch that they should unite with them in attacking and capturing Bombay. 

A description of our Heptanesia, as they were about this date, will be found in Antonio 

Bocarro's work upon " the Plants of the Fortresses." " Coming from seawards " says he " on© 

must steer north-east, keeping clear on the sea-side of the islet of Candil (Colaba). There is a 

rocky ridge, which juts out southwards from the land", and extends half a league into the sea. 

It is all rock and is quickly covered by water, so that if a vessel fails to take heed, she is sure to 

run against it. On the land side there are houses of the Lord of the Manor. There is also 

a bastion, of the area of about ten paces, on which are mounted four iron guns. There is no 

soldier in this bastion, nor anything for its defence, except what the Lord of the Manor supplies 

at his own cost, without any charge to the Royal Treasury. The small and scattered population 

of Bombay consists of eleven Portuguese families. These, together with the blacks, make up 

seventy musketeers." These houses of the Lord of the Manor included the " Quinta " or Great 

House, which in 1661 belonged to Donna Ignez de Miranda, then lady of the Manor or 

" Senhora da Ilha." " Around the house " wrote Fryer " was a delicate garden, voiced to 

be the pleasantest in India. This garden of Eden or place of terrestrial happiness, would put the 

searchers upon as hard an inquest as the other has done its posterity. The walks which before 

were covered with nature's verdant awning, and lightly pressed by soft delights, are now open 

to the sun and loaded with hardy cannon. The bowers dedicated to rest and ease are turned 

into bold rampires for the watchful sentinel to look out on. Every tree that the airy choristers 

made their charming choir,. trembles at the rebounding echo of the alarming drum ; and those 

slender fences, only designed to oppose the sylvan herd, are thrown down to erect others of a 

more warlike force." Before the English came, the garden viras doubtless all that Fryer 

described it to be. South of it lay the settlement or parish of " Palav " (Apollo), opposite which, 

and in the sea, were set the fishing-stakes of the Kolis, who dwelt in Old Woman's Island, as it 

was subsequently called, and in parts of the island of Bombay proper. West of the garden 

lay the wide stretch of the Maidan, terminating in the orchards and groves, which reached to 



the foot of Malabar Hill. There were several houses of the Indo-Portuguese,, Bhandaris, Kolis 
and Agris scattered among these groves 5 there was the fair-sized village of Cavel, forming a 
portion of the Maidan, or Esplanade parish; and northward of it several dank fields, reserved 
for rice-cultivation. Though the Srigundi still existed at the extremity of the hill of the 
Malabars, the old Temple of Walkeshvar, built by the Silahara, had been oast down ; so also 
the shrines of Mahalaxshmi and her sisters had, for the time being, disappeared from our shores, 
the goddesses waiting in concealment until a milder feeling should prevail towards the old 
deities of Hinduism. North of Dongri, inhabited by Kolis and perhaps by a few Parbhu 
and Brahmin inhabitants, lay the isle and Manor of Mazagon, possessed by the legal descendants 
of the DeSouza familj', and serving as the home of Portuguese, Kolis, Agris, Malis, Bhandaris, 
and perhaps a few Hindu "scrivains" or clerks.* The northern isles, as we have remarked, 
were wholly given over to the Jesuits, who owned houses and demesnes in Parel, Sion, and 
Mahim. The latter island was probably peopled by the Portuguese in small numbei-s, by 
Parbhus, Brahmins of Palshikar and perhaps Shenvi caste, a few Moors or Mahommedans, and the 
lower classes of Hindus. Similarly at Naigaon the Parbhu and Brahmin must still have been 
resident, though the latter found it a harder task than the former to maintain a livelihood and 
reputation among those who, once his disciples, had been largely persuaded or forcibly driven to 
become Christians. The Parbhu, on the contrary, being a man of business, could still comfortably 
subsist by petty trading or by acting as a rent collector and agent of Portuguese landlords. Parel 
and Sion sheltered the Portuguese priests, and various classes of Hindus, both orthodox and 
converts, and contained the historic chapel, which has been finally metamorphosed into the Plague 
Laboratory of the twentieth century. The trade of the islands was not great, being confined for 
the most part to the sale of dried fish ; and the revenues of the Portuguese landlords were drawn 
in the main from taxes upon rice-lands, payable in kind, upon oil and ghee, and upon the 
cocoanut and areca-nut palms, with which the islands abounded. The population had met with 
obstacles rather than inducements to its increase, and numbered only some ten thousand, at the 
time that Donna Ignez de Miranda owned the island of Bombay, and Alvares Peres de Tavora was 
lord of the Manor of Mazagon. 

And yet, notwithstanding their poverty, the immense natural advantages of the islands 
aroused the cupidity of the English, who recognized their value as a naval base. It was 
for this reason that they fought the Battle of Swally in 1614-15 ; f that they landed 
and burnt the ' Great House ' in 1626 ; that the Surat Council in 1652 urged the pur- 
chase of Bombay from the Portuguese ; 'and that in 1654 the Directors' of the Company 
drew the attention of Cromwell to this suggestion, laying great stress upon its excellent harbour 
and its natural isolation from attacks by land. J Slowly but surely the hour was drawing nigh, 

• Mazagoa also contained at this date a Frandacau chapel, which In these days appears as the Church of Nossa 
Senhora da Gloria, the cathedral of the missions of the north, and " the present cathedral in Bombay of the Portagnese Diocese 
of Daman." The chapel was enlarged in 1803 and rebuilt in 1810, the DeSouza family of Calcutta contributing Rs. 80,000 
for its oonstrnction.— {Relatorio da Nova Diocese.) The Mazagon patent of 1672 refers to " the sacred grounds " ; and in the early 
portion o{ the Seventeenth century the chapel was enlarged by Ray de Souza. In 1731 the Mazagon estate was sold through the 
offices of one Vishvanath Senoy Telang to Antonio de SUva for Rs. 21,500, to whom the village of Worli had already been sold in 
17?6, One condition of the sale was that de Silva should pay the annual pension due to the church for the celebration of its 
feast. In 1748 the Collector, Laurence Sullivan, refers to " a quarry of stone now in possession of the church of Mazagon ; 
in 1799 one Antonio de Souza left the church an annual sum of Rs. 200 for the celebration of masses and in 1803 the British 
Government appropriated certain lands of the church, and pays Bs. 1,500 for the same per annum as well as Rs. 240 in lieu of 
12 mudas of rice, which formed part of the church's endowment " — (Dr. Godinho.) 

t In 1614 the Portuguese Viceroy sailed from Goa with 7 galleons, 2 pinks, 1 galley, 1 caravel, and 5 other 
vessels containing 1,400 Portuguese and a large amount of artillery. He wished to destroy the 4 English vessels then at Swally, 
namely, ' The New Tear's Gift ', ' the Hector ', ' the Merchant's Hope ' and ' the Solomon ', under the command of Nicholas 
Dowaton. On December 23rd, the Portuguese fleet arrived and cast anchor between the English and Surat. Slight skirmishes 
took place on the 27th and 28th ; on the 29th the English fleet sailed and took up a better position at Swally, thus getting 
once again into communication with Surat. Between the 14th and 19th January 1615, the Viceroy was joined by three other 
fleets under Azavedo, Luiz de Britto, and Joao de Almeida. On the morning of January 20th, ' the Merchant's Hope ' sailed 
towards the enemy, who engaged and boarded her with great determination, and nearly succeeded in taking her twice. They 
were, however, driven off with a loss of between 400 and 50O men, among whom were many ' fidalgos.' The three other 
English vessels came up and completed the defeat. A cannonade was sustained till nightfall, and the next morning the 
Viceroy sailed away disconsolate to Diu. 

t The value of the harbour of Bombay was fully recognised by the Portuguese in India. The Count of Linbares wrote a 
letter to the King of Portugal, dated December 4th, 1630, in which he greatly extolled its advantages. 


^hen the yoke of Jesuit should be lifted from the necks of the people, and the old deities of the 
Hindus should peacefully share dominion with the gods of Christianity and Islam. Perhaps 
the most fitting epilogue to the tale of Portuguese dominion, the most suitable prelude to the 
history of the years to come, will be found in the following extract from certain recently 
published historical sketches by Thomas Carlyle : — 

" Nay, looking into other old log-books, I discern, in the Far East too, a notable 
germination. By Portuguese Gama, by Dutch and other traffickers, and sea-and-land rovers, 
"the Kingdoms of the Sun are opened to our dim Fog-land withal ; are coming into a kind of 
contact with it. England herself has a traffic there, a continually increasing traffic. In these 
years (1610), His Majesty has granted the English East India Company a ' new charter to 
continue for ever, ' the old temporary charter having expired. Ships, ' the Immense Ship, 
Trade's Increase, and her Pinnace, the Peppercorn,' she and others have been there — in Guzerat, 
in Java, in the isles of Ternate and Tidore — bringing spicy drugs. At Surat and elsewhere, 
certain poor English Factories are rising in spite of ' the Portugal s of Goa. ' Nay, in 1611, 
there came Sir Robert Shirley, a wandering, battling, diplomatising Sussex man, ' Ambassador 
from Shah Abbas the Great,' and had a Persian wife, and produced an English-Persian boy, 
to whom Prince Henry stood god-father. Shah Abbas, Jehangir, Great Mogul and 
fabulous-real Potentates of the uttermost parts of the Earth, are dimly disclosed to us, night's 
ancient curtain being now drawn aside. Not fabulous, but real ; seated there, with awful eye, 
on their thrones of barbaric pearl and gold. Is it not as if some rustle of the coming epochs 
were agitating, in a gentle way, those dusky, remote Majesties? The agitation of 'the 
Portugals at Goa' on the other hand, is not gentle but violent. 

" For lo, we say, through the log-book of the old India Ship Dragon, in the three last 
days of October, 1612, there is visible and audible a thing worth noticing at this distance. A 
very fiery cannonading, ' nigh Surat in the Road of Swally. ' It is the Viceroy of Goa, and 
■Captain Thomas Best, The Viceroy of Goa has sent ' five thousand fresh men, in four great 
galleons with six-and-twenty lusty frigates, ' to demolish Captain Thomas Best and this ship 
Dragon of his, — in fact to drive these English generally, and their puny Factories, home 
again, out of His Excellency's way. Even so, but Captain Thomas Best will need to be consult- 
ed on the matter, too ! Captain Thomas Best, being consulted, pours forth mere torrents of 
fire and iron, for three days running, enough to convince any Portugal. A surly dog ; cares 
not a doit for our galleons, for our lusty frigates, sends them in splinters about our ears, kills 
eif hty-two of us, besides the wounded and frightened ! Truculent sea-bear, son of the Norse 
Sea-kings ; he has it by kind ! The Portuguese return to Goa in a very dismantled manner. 
What shall we do, Excellency of Goa ? Best and his Dragon will not go, when consulted ! 
O Excellency, it is we ourselves that will have to go ! This is the cannonade of Captain Best, 
* General Best' as the old log-books name him • small among sea-victories, but in the World's 
History, perhaps, great ! 

" Captain Best, victorious over many things, sends home despatches, giving ' a scheme of 
good order ' for all our Factories and business in the East • sails hither, sails thither, settling 
much' freights himself with ' cloves, pepper' and other pungent substances, and returns 
happily in 1614. The Great Mogul had a ' Lieger ' or Agent of ours, for some time past ; and 
now, in this same year, 1614, Sir Thomas Roe goes out as Resident Ambassador. The English 
India Company seems inclined to make good its charter ! His Majesty, in all easy ways, right 
willingly encourages it. 

" American Colonies, Indian Empire, — and that far grander Heavenly Empire, Kingdom 
of the Soul eternal in the Heavens : is not this People conquering somewhat for itself ? Under 
the empty halm, and cast-clothes of phantasmagories, under the tippets, rubrics, King's-cloaks, 
and exuviae, I think there is a thing or two germinating,— my erudite Friend ! " 



vayroSavoitfiu' SirEirrtfffi pivots 

xiovat Saijuovidtv, 

S'JwavTiXXftiu ;^foyO( 

TOUTO V^aaiTUV fATi Xff/AOf." 


' Foi in a matter aighty and bearing many ways to judge with unswayed mind and enitably, tlvis ie a hard essay ; 
7et hath some ordinance of immortala given this sea-defended land to be to strangers out of every clime a pillar built of 
God. May coming time not weary of this work.' 

Period the First. — 1661 to 1673. 

At the Palace of Whitehall, on the 23rd day of June, 1661, was signed the Marriage-Treaty 
between Charles II. and the Infanta of Portugal, whereby the Port and Island of Bombay " with 
all the rights, profits, territories and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belonging " were 
handed over " to the King of Great Britain, his heirs and successors for ever. " This memorable 
event forms the prelude to the last act of our island-drama, wherein the Heptanesia gradually 
emerge from barrenness and poverty, and, passing through a series of geographical, political and 
social transformations, finally appear before us as the splendid and populous capital of Western 
India. The period, which extends from the date of the Marriage-Treaty to the opening of this 
twentieth century, may be viewed from manifold standpoints. Military transactions, growth of 
revenue expansion of trade might severally form the subject-matter of no mean volume ; but the 
study of them would not necessarily conduce to an adequate grasp of the changes which have 
taken place in the external appearance and population of Bombay, since the British first set foot 
therein. It is with the latter subject, however, rather than with political or commercial changes, 
that this monograph must necessarily deal ; and inasmuch as there are vouchsafed to us, at 
different dates from the year 1661 till the present day, definite statements of the number of 
inhabitants of Bombay, it will be our endeavour to fashion upon the basis of these successive 
estimates d tolerable tale of the islands' expansion, and show to what extent the military, civil 
and commercial exploits of the Company and the Crown have contributed to changes in the num- 
ber and character of the population. 

Now the earliest record of numbers that we possess is contained in the " New Account of 
East India and Persia " written by Dr. John Fryer, Surgeon to the East India Company, 
and published in London in the year 1698. The author, to whose graphic writings successive 
students of Bombay history have expressed themselves indebted, lays down that in 1675 the popula- 
tion of Bombay numbered 60,000, " more by 50,000 than the Portuguese ever had. " In view 
of this statement, it is generally understood, and is indeed recorded as a fact by Dr. Gerson da 
-Cunha that at the hour when the English gained possession of Bombay, the inhabitants numbered 
about 10,000 souls. Although the Island and Port of Bombay became the property of England 
by the treaty of 1661, the actual cession of territory did not take place until the commencement 
of the year 1665. The events of the intermediary period, the exile and death of Sir Abraham 
-Shipman upon the Isle of Angediva, and the obstructive attitude of the Portuguese in India, are , 
known to most of us and hardly need recapitulation. The salient features of the tal6, in our 
opinion, are the comparative ignorance of the prospective value of -the islands displayed, by 


authorities in Europe, and the prescience of "the Portugals " in this country. Contrast, for 
example, Lord Claredon's misty notion of the " Island of Bombay with the towns and castles therein 
which are within a very little distance from Brazil, " with the words of Antonio DeMello de- 
Castro, Viceroy of Goa, in a final letter to the King of Portugal. " I confess at the feet of your 
Majesty, " he wrote in the January of 1665, " that only the obedience I owe your Majesty, as a. 
vassal, could have forced me to this deed (i.e., the cession of the island), because I foresee the great 
troubles that from this neighbourhood will result to the Portuguese ; and that India will be lost 
on the same day in which the English nation is settled in Bombay." There is something pathetic 
in this last appeal of the Viceroy, who fully recognised the possibilities of world-greatness- 
which underlay " the inconsiderableness of the Place of Bombaim," and knew by instinct that 
his race could never be the dominant power in Western India, if once *'the poor little Island," 
as Pepys querulously termed it, were hauded over to the men of England. 

The King of Portugal, however, was bound by the terms of the Marriage-Treaty ; and in 
consequence, there is presented to us in the month of January 1665 the spectacle of Humphrey 
Cooke — Inofre Coque, as the Portuguese documents have it — " taking himself personally the 
possession and delivery of the said Island of Bombay," after signing and executing the instru- 
ment of possession in the Manor-house of D. Ignez de Miranda, the Lady of the Island. Before 
proceeding to trace the reasons for the rise of population between that date and the year 1 675, 
it is desirable to ascertain what were the limits of Bombay, as ceded to Cooke, and into what 
classes its population of about 10,000 was divided. 

One is somewhat apt in these latter days to imagine that Bombay during Portuguese rule 
comprised nearly as many sub-divisions as it now does, and that the outlying portions were 
always subordinate, as indeed they now are, to the area occupied by the Fort and Native City. 
But for a clear perception of the early period of the island's story, it is essential to remember 
that to the Mahommedan and the " Portugal " Bombay meant merely the island whereon once stood 
the shrine of the old Hindu goddess Mumbadevi ; and that this island was of infinitely less 
importance than the island of Mahim. Till the year 1634, it had not even acquired the position 
of a '' cagabe (Kasba) or principal place of a district, " possessed no dependencies, and was merely 
one among a number of areas leased on a quit-rent to deserving Portuguese families. The 
Royal Charter of the Mazagon Manor, and the separate leases or ' aforamentos' of Parel and 
Varli in the " tombo " of Simao Botelho clearly prove that these estates or villages were 
originally wholly independent of ' Bombaim, ' while the more northern villages were never 
considered otherwise than as appendages of the supreme ca?abe of Mahim. At the time that 
Humphrey Cooke " took in his hand earth and stones, and walked upon the bastions " of 
Bombay, as signal of possession by the English, the island had acquired sufficient importance to 
reckon Mazagon, Parel and Varli as its dependencies. Any larger area than this, however, 
could not, according to Portuguese views, be included in the treaty of delivery ; for Colaba was 
still the Koli's portion, wholly independent, and Sion, Dharavi, and Vadala were portions of 
the separate estate (island) of Mahim. Such, indeed, was the decision of the Commissioners 
whom the English Governor requested to define the limits of the ceded territory. Cooke's 
action under the circumstances will be briefly recorded, after glancing at the principal land 
marks of the island and its dependencies. 

The chief feature of the island proper was, to quote Fryer's words, «' a pretty well-seated, 
but ill-fortified house," situated behind the present site of the Town Hall. " Four brass guus were 
the whole defence of the island, unless a few chambers housed in small towers, convenient places 
to scour the Malabars, who were accustomed to seize cattle and depopulate whole villages by 
their outrages. About the house was a delicate garden, voiced to be the pleasantest in India 
intended rather for wanton dalliance, love's artillery, than to make resistance against an invading 
foe." To the south-west of the house and garden was a certain area of open ground, corresponding 
to the Esplanade of our day, and containing a Franciscan church, built on the present site of the 
Elphinstone High School. This open ground merged gradually into " hortas " oarts, or plantations 
of cocoanut trees, which stretched in an almost unbroken line as far as the " Hill of the Malabars," 
with its ruined temple of the Sand-God, and the limits of the modern section of Mahalakshmi. 
Scattered among the palms were small villages, Gavel (Koli-var), Kalikadevi or Kalbadevi, and 


the hiff-Xrill&ge' of Girgahm, composed for libetoost pM of rudo patm-rofofed hut?, g,„ 

atfd fh^td "tiiight be seen a few better-class dwelli'iigs, tiled arid glaz^dwiith oyStSr-shells, the 
pl^o'porty of PW^^ese inhabitants. Eice-eultivation was not unknown, and conjointly with 
thei*eiit6fthe*oiirts'fed the duty of " battdrastal," or tax upon the right to distil liquor fi-om 
palta^juioe, ftihiiSheld iihe revenues of the latid-owner or lotd 6f ihe manor. Southv\Card of the 
hotiSe arid garden Uy ffie " Pakhadi " or parish of " Polo " (hodie " Apollo" Bundar), which 
dontaihed a few "hiits aihd tebked across an arm of the sea to "the islet Calleld Cafldil" (o ilheo 
^ue dhaJn&o Candil), Wherein the Portuguese owned a few lands. To the north of the house and. 
garden was a small ccingeries of rude dwellings, and a ' mandovJm ' or custom-hbrise, the title 
thereof being a corruption of *n^ or Mandvi, which is the modern name of the area, to which 
the custotti- house was Subsequently removed. Further north again was the Dongri or Hill-Tract 
marked' by fishermen's huts, wliich onoe, if not at the date of the cession also, belonged io th» 
tei^ritory of Mazagon, from 'which it was scipara^ed at high-tide by the Umbar-khadi (Oomer- 
khari) or Fig-Tree Creek. Hard by was the Foot-wash, Pydhoni, of which we have spoken in an 
earlier chapter. Both the Creek and the ' Foot-wash ' owed their existence to the great breach 
between the island of Varli and the northern limits of Malabar Hill, through wliich poured the 
^ea at high-tide, submerging, according to Dr. Fryer, " 40,000 acres of good land, yielding 
nothing else but samphire." Two other smaller ' khinds ' or breaches combined with this great 
breach to render the modern areas of Tafdeo, Kamathipura, and the Flats, a partially-suhmerged 
swamp, of no small danger to the health of those who dwelt in the immediate vicinity. 

The most important of the dependencies of the island was Mazagon, " a great fishing-town, 
peculiarly notable for a fish called burabalo, the sustenance of the poorer sort, who live on them 
arid batty field." The fishing-town formed but a small portion of what had once been a very rich 
manor or estate. One Bernadino de Tavora was confirmed in possession of the village of Mazagon 
by a patent of June 3rd, 1637, to the copy of which Was appended a note, showing that ' Manekji 
Nowroji's Hill ' («*. «., Dongri), the Oart Charney, and Varli were part of this estate. Added to these 
were " Vezry Hill, Bardeen batty-grounds, the Pakhadivada oarts, and Bhoycalem or Byculla." 
The Franciscans possessed a church and monastery here, the Portuguese owned houses, and the 
Bhandaris and Kolis, dwelling in rude huts, manured the palms, distilled liquor, fished, and 
repaired, on highdays and holidays, to4he rude shrine of Khadakadev or Ghorupdev, the Rock- 
god, which lay to the north of Byculla. Notwithstanding that the original area of the estate 
had by the date of the cession, been largely curtailed, yet the Mazagon island, with its oarts and 
batty-crrounds, must have been the most remunerative of all the areas, of which Cooke took 

North of Mazagon, and separated therefrom by the sea, lay the lands and village of 
Parel. Here also were batty-fields and oarts, and a large church belonging to the Jesuits, 
known to us in these days as * Old Government House.' The church and dwelling-houses 
associated with it, were surrounded by several acres of good land, beyond the limits of 
which were the inevitable hut settlements of " the poorer Gentoos. " Though no definite 
mention is made of Sivri (Sewri) and Naigaum, it is probable that they were included in the 
area ceded to the English, being at the time but poor and insignificant places. 

Finally there was the island of Vadali or Worli, containing a small fort and hut settle- 
ment of the fisher folk. No exhaustive account of the inhabitants of the ceded islands 
is in existence : but Fryer divides them in 167.'5 into seven main classes, most of which 
must have been dwelling here in 1665, albeit they were then less numerous. Foremost 
among them were the Portuguese proper, who possessed the land as tenants-in-chief of 
the King of Portugal. According to a statement of Antonio Bocarro, in his " Livro das Plantas 
das Fortalezas," they consisted in 1634 of " eleven Portuguese casados " or married settlers ; 
arid had not, so far as we know, increased vei'y greatly by 1665. To us the most note- 
vvorthyofthemall was D. Ignez de Miranda, widow of D. Rodrigo de Monganto, who was 
kriown as the Senhora da Ilha, and was sole proprietress of the cagabe of Bombay, with its cocoa- 
nul-gardens, rice-fields, and the duty of bandrastal. Like the rest of her compatriots in these 
idands she was a • fazendeiro ' or holder of a ' fazenda, ' or estate, granted upon a system known 
as 'afommento.' Dr. Gerson da Cunfaa has clearly shown that this system which had origiially 


Ibeen introduced into these islands by D. Joao de Castro, involved both a right and a duty— the 
right to possess the land and enjoy its produce ; the duty to defend it, at the tenant's expense, by 
the maintenance of men and horse, and the building of moated towers and stookadea. The 
tenure was in truth emphyteutical ; for the land was granted either in perpetnam or for a long 
ierm of years, on condition that the grantee should plant, cultivate and otherwise improve it, and 
that he should at the same time pay a ' foro ' or quit-rent. Antonio Bocarro's rdferenoa 
to the eleven Portuguese casados indirectly proves the existence of the tenure ; for he adds 
that, together with some native blacks {mturaes pretos)j they could provide seventy musketeers 
able to serve in war. At the hour when the English set foot in the island, the character of the 
original tenure may in some cases have been forgotten, and the obligation of the tenant to 
furnish military service to the King of Portugal as supreme land-owner, have been gradually set 
aside : but the payment of the " foro " (pagar o foro, i. e., solvere pensionem) was still in force, 
in almost every village within the limits of Bombay territory. Even to us of the twentieth 
•century, the name of the tenure is familiar. We meet it in a " Foras Boad, " in the '* Foras 
Tenure " Register of the Bombay Collector's office. The tenant-in-ohief was permitted to sublet 
ibis possessions to others, in consequence of which there existed at the time of the cession, a con- 
siderable number of land-holders, who felt that the advent of the English might interfere with 
their rights, and who therefore did all in their power to prevent the terms of the marriage- 
treaty being carried out. In point of fact, by the articles of delivery which Cooke signed, they 
were not dispossessed of their lands, but were allowed to continue paying the same ' foro ' as 
before, and to " enjoy and make use of the same as they have hitherto done without the least 
•contradiction from the part of the English gentlemen. " A later clause added " that every person 
possessing revenue at Bombay, either by partimonial or Crown lands, shall possess them with the 
«aine right and shall not be deprived thereof except in cases which the law of Portugal may direct, 
and their sons and descendants shall succeed to them with the same right, etc." It was also ex- 
pressly laid down that the estates of the Lady of the Island were not to be intermeddled with or 
taken away from her, without her consent : but that " after death and her heirs succeed to those 
©states, the English gentlemen may, if they choose, take them, paying for the same their just 
value, as is provided in the case of other proprietors of estates." So large a portion of the ceded 
territory was, at the time of which we write, in private hands, that the portion directly vested 
in the British Crown was comparatively trifling, and included none of the villages, which con- 
tributed the major portion of the revenues. 

Next in order to the few Portuguese families, who represented the ' landed genti-y ' of 
Bombay, were the Indo-Portuguese, a people of mixed European and Asiatic descent, whom Dr. 
Fryer denominated " Topazes. " To some of these the King of Portugal doubtless referred in a 
letter, dated 8th February 1664, in the course of which he remarked that " the inhabitants of the 
island are so closely allied by nationality, parentage and convenience to the best of the Portuo-uese 
all over India that I consider the arrangement (t. e., the cession of the island to England) will be 
for their common good." The majority of this class cannot have been possessed of a high social 
status : afow, perhaps, were landholders, and enjoyed a fair position : but, generally speaking, they 
were a degenerate and debased race, "the hybrid product of the union of Portuguese with the 
native women of low-class, possessing the good qualities of neither." Subsequent to the cession a 
fair number of them were enlisted as soldiers, and formed the original nucleus of the Bombay Army. 

Holding a somewhat similar position to that of the Indo-Portuguese, and occasionally con- 
founded with them, the Native converts to Christianity, who dwelt for the most part in Gavel 
village, Mazagon and Parel, formed no inconsiderable portion of the population of 10,000. If one 
may judge from the example of Cavel, the Koli race, our aboriginal and Dravidian settlers, seem 
to have supplied the largest number of converts. From time immemorial, the Koli had dwelt in 
his Kol-war, or Koli hamlet ; and when the Portuguese commenced their crusade against the old 
gods of the island, he became a Christian, and his hamlet became, under the name of"caveI, a por- 
tion of the Esplanade Parish. But, from whatever class or tribe they may originally have' been 
drawn, the Indian converts, in the early days of British rule, contributed largely to the rise and 
development of Bombay. " Thousands of Indian families," writes Dr. de Cunha, " had been con- 
verted by the Portuguese to Christianity ; " and it was from these families that the early British 
Government drew the.'- supply of clerks, assistants or secretaries. " They were the first fruits 


of the instruction and education imparted to them by the Portuguese priests, at a time moreover 
when there was hardly a Hindu, Moslem or Parsi able to read the Koman characters, ^nd 
they -were the early instruments for spreading the influence of the new rule among the natives of 
Western India, or the first helpers in the expansion of the British power throughout the country." 
The fear that they might be forced to renounce the Eoman Catholic religion was one of the 
reasons preferred by Antonio DeMello de Castro for not giving up Bombay to the English. 
" I see in the Island of Bombay " so ran the letter " so many Christian souls, which some day 
will be forced to change their religion by the English. How will they allow Catholics to reside 
in their territories when they hand over Catholics in the island of Anjuanne to the Moors ? " 
The Viceroy need not have felt any apprehension : for, from 1665 onwards, no authentic instance 
exists of any native of India, Christian or otherwise, fleeing from persecution by the British as 
the Brahmans of Bandora did in 1677 from the illiberal actions of Portuguese missionaries. 

Before speaking of the lower classes of natives, resident in the islands, one is tempted to 
enquire whether any member of the Parsi community dwelt here at the time of the cession. 
That they existed in considerable force in Bassein territory is an acknowledged fact ; and the 
physician Garcia da Orta, who owned the island of Bombay about the year 1554, speaks of them 
in the following terms in his Colloquios : — " There are other shop-keepers who are named Coaris, 
and in the kingdom of Cambay they call them Esparcis, and we, the Portuguese, call them Jews j 
but they are not Jews, they are Gentiles who came from Persia, have their own characters, have 
many vain superstitions, and when one dies they take him by another door and not by that they 
serve themselves ; have sepulchres where they are laid down when dead, and placed there until 
dissolved ; they look to the east, are not circumcised, nor is it forbidden to them to eat pork; 
but it is forbidden to eat beef. And for these reasons you will see that they are not Jews.'' 
According to a tradition current in the community, one Dorabji Nanabhai actually resided in 
Bombay island with his family during the Portuguese dominion, and earned a livelihood by 
transacting miscellaneous business with the natives on behalf of Portuguese authorities. On the 
advent of the English, he is stated to have served them in a similar capacity. It is possible that 
the population of Bombay in 1665 included a few members of this adventurous commimity ; but 
that the number was insignificant is apparent from the fact that until 1674 or 1675 no ' Dakhma' 
or Tower-of-Silence for the reception of their dead had been built. In the neighbourhood of Parel 
and Sion were two classes of inhabitants, whom Dr. Fryer alludes to under the title of '' Oolum- 
beens, who manure the soil " and " Frasses or porters also, each of which tribes have a 
mandadore or superintendent, who give an account of them to the English, and being born 
under the same degree of slavery, are generally more tyrannical than a stranger would be 
towards them." The first-named were Kunbis or cultivators, and must have included both the 
Kunbis proper and also the Agris, who have lent their name to the modern district of Agripada, 
The Frasses or Farazes, so far as one can gather, were Dhers and others of extremely low caste ; 
for Garcia da Orta, in describing the races inhabiting the settlement of Bassein, speaks of them as 
" a people despised and hated by all. They do not touch others, they eat everything, even 
dead things. Each village gives them its leavings to eat, without touching them. Their task is 
to cleanse the dirt from houses and streets." These were in truth the forerunners of the modern 
Halalehor and sweeper ; and must have been living not only in Parel and Sion, but in the 
villages of the island proper and in Mazagon. 

Lastly, there were the Kolis and Bhandaris, whose settlements were scattered her© 
and there throughout Bombay, Mazagon, Parel, and Worli. The Bhandaris, whose here- 
ditary occupation was the tapping of palm trees and distillation of liquor from the 
iuice, probably resided in or near the great palm-grovea and oarts, which stretched 
along Back Bay to Malabar Hill. A certain number of them no doubt were engaged in 
other pursuits such as agriculture proper, and included classes, such as the Bhangulis or 
Bhongles who were originally Bhandari Sirdars. In the early days of British rule, they 
nrovided an honorary guard, and carried standards in front of the Governors ; while the 
Bhangulis acted as trumpeters before the High SherifiF, on the occasion of opening the Quarter 



Sessions. The Kolis were, as they are now, agriculturists and fishermen. An account of 
them has already been given in the Hindu period ; and it will suffice at this juncture to remark 
that their settlements were found in almost every portion of the ceded territory, and that with 
the Bhandaris and Agris, they probably formed the major portion of the population in the 
year 1665. 

Such wore the main classes of inhabitants, at the time when Cooke signed the articles of 
delivery. It seems to us probable that out of the ten thousand, some few at least were 
Parbhus. There had been a colony of them at Mahim, ever since the day when their ancestors 
journeyed in the wake of Bhimdev from Devgiri ; while a letter, dated Sake 1670, from the Sar- 
Subedar of the Konkan to the Shrimant Peshva of Puna, states that " in the times of the late 
Portuguese Government, the Brahmins were, by that Government, made to undergo compul- 
sory labour like Oulis, and as the Prabhus held appointments under it, the Brahmins naturally 
suspected them of bringing this about." The Parbhus in fact were clerks and accountants, who 
collected rents on behalf of the King and of the land-holders ; and it is permissible to believe that 
the existence of the ' aforamento ' tenure in the islands of Bombay must have necessitated the 
presence of some few families in the island villages. Had it not been for the aggressive policy 
of the Portuguese toward the native of Bombay, a very much larger number of them would 
have been resident here at the time of the cession ; but, as pointed out by Mr. S. M. Nayak in 
his History of the Pattane Prabhus, forcible conversion to Christin,nity and other illiberal mea- 
sures obliged many Parbhu families to fly from their Christian rulers, and take refuge under the 
comparatively mild sway of the Marathas. We see no reason also to disbelieve in the presence of 
a few Mahommedan families. Fryer distinctly mentions Moors as one class of the population in 
1675 ; and although their numbers may have considerably increased subsequent to the appear- 
ance of the British, yet the Mahommedan period cannot have passed away, without leaving a 
single trace among the population of the seven islands. If not of pure descent, the few repre- 
sentatives of Islam may well have belonged to the class, denominated by Garcia da Orta as 
" Naitias " (from the Sanskrit " Napatri ") " which means mixed, or made up first of the Moors 
(Musulmans) who came from abroad, and then mixed themselves with the Gentiles (Hindus) of 
this land." 

Now to govern this strange medley of races — Portuguese, Indo- Portuguese, Kolis, Bhan- 
daris and others — there came with Humphrey Cooke a small band of English, the survivors of 
Sir Abraham Shipman's ill-fated force. The troops which left England in 1662, to garrison 
Bombay, amounted to four companies of 100 men each, independent of officers. In December 
1664, they numbered one hundred and three privates with a sadly thinned list of officers. 
In compliance with the request of Sir George Oxenden, Mr. Cooke supplied the following 
roll of the force which accompanied him to Bombay : — One ensign, four sergeants, six corporals, 
four drummers, one gunner's mate, one gunsmith, and ninety-seven privates, with twenty-two 
pieces of cannon and eight hundred and seventy-eight rounds of shot. 

The main characteristics of Bombay and its inhabitants at the time of the cession, 
having thus been determined, it now becomes necessary to trace the causes which led by 
the year 1675 or 1677 to an increase of 50,000 in the population. Humphrey Cooke 
fell into great disfavour both with the Government at home and with the Council at Surat 
for signing so " derogatory and unjust " a convention. Not only were restrictions placed 
by the articles of delivery upon the land now vested in the British Crown, and upon 
the free movement of population, but the island of Bombay had been shorn of its most 
important dependencies, the cession of which had clearly been contemplated in the original 
treaty between the monarchies of England and Portugal. The non-delivery of these 
outlying villages and islands, moreover, afforded the Portuguese an opportunity of harassing 
the English, by inflicting heavy imposts upon all boats which passed Karanja or Thana : 
and the levy of a 10 to 12 per cent, duty on the merchandize and provisions, which 
Bombay boats brought from the continent, eventually proved so burdensome that Cooke 
was forced to put soldiers on board to resist the demand. Notwithstanding, however, the 
manifest injustice of the capitulation, as King Charles II. styled Humphrey Cooke's convefition 


we are not convinoed that lie failed to make the best arrangement under the ciroumstanees. 
He found himself confronted at the outset of his labour by a strong body of landed proprietors, 
belonging to a race which had ruled Bombay and the neighbouring country for over a century, 
who were extremely jealous of any infringement of their rights, who were firmly opposed to English 
interference, and who had actually proved strong enough, with the aid of their supreme re- 
presentative in India, to withhold the delivery of Bombay for over three years. It may have 
reasonably occurred to Cooke that, by insistence upon the full terms of the marriage-treaty, 
he was likely to indefinitely prolong the negotiations, and might even be obliged to return to 
an island, the climate of which had already slain a large number of his compatriots : that, under 
these circumstances, it was better policy to take Bombay with all the restrictions and disadvant- 
ages that the Portuguese might impose, and trust to overthrowing or counteracting them, after 
once he and his men had the island in their grasp. Be this as it may, Cooke's action after the 
cession was decidedly directed against the restrictive clauses in the treaty of delivery, and may 
in some respects be regarded as the model upon which subsequent Governors framed their policy. 
The two objects upon which he appears to have principally set his mind were, firstly, the acquisi- 
tion of more territory, and secondly, the attraction to the island of merchants and others, who 
would help the community to be independent of the commercial inhabitants of Portuguese 
territory. In furtherance of the former desire, he seized, upon the flimsiest pretext, the land 
which was contiguous to the island proper, and thereby excited intense bitterness in the heart of 
Antonio DeMello de Castro, who gave vent to his feelings in a letter to the King of Portugal, dated 
January 5th, 1666. " During the last monsoon " he wrote " I informed your Majesty that I had 
handed over Bombay. Now I will relate to your Majesty what the English have done, and are 
doing in the way of excesses. The first act of Mr. Humphrey, who is the Governor of that is- 
land, and whom I knew in Lisbon as a grocer, was to take possession of the island of Mahim 
in spite of my protests, the island being some distance from the island of Bombay, as your 
Majesty will see from the map which I send herewith. He argues that at low tide, one can 
walk from one to the other, and if this is conceded your Majesty will be unable to defend the 
right to the other Northern islands. * * * The inhabitants of the north would have taken 
up arms and driven out the English, if I had not had my suspicions and prevented them, by 
assuring them that your Majesty was actually in treaty about the purchase of Bombay. And, 
although the name of Humphrey Cooke appears in all these matters, an awful heretic named 
Henry Gary, a great enemy of the Portuguese nation, is the author of all these things." Thus 
Mahim became ours ; and with it Sion, Dharavi, Vadala passed out of the possession of the 
' Portucrals ' and became the property of the British. Notwithstanding the protests of Ignacio 
Sarmento de Sampaio, the actions of Cooke, and ' the awful heretic ' who worked with him, were 
upheld ; so that, by the time the latter became Governor, Bombay included all the lands, except 
Colaba and Old Woman's Island, which have been united to form the present island of Bombay. 
While he thus irritated the Portuguese by usurpation of their territory, Cooke roused the 
jealousy of the Mogul Government by inviting native merchants to come and settle in Bombay, 
and by his endeavours to strengthen the garrison. These two actions, indeed, represent the 
keynote of our policy in this early period. Bombay was to become ' the flourishingest port in 
India ' ; this could only be attained by the settlement of people from without ; and they 
would be more likely to make their home in the islands, if complete religious toleration were 
established, and if security of life and property were afiforded by a strong fortress or garrison. 
These views were to some extent acted upon by Sir Gervase Lucas, who in compliance with the 
•orders of Government, arrived in Bombay in November 1666, ousted Cooke from the Governor- 
ship and cast him into prison on. a charge of fraud and embezzlement. Before setting sail from 
England, he pointed out the ruinous condition of the Bombay fortifications, and the need of a 
stronger garrison ; and was eventually permitted to take with him " a reinforcement of 60 men 
under a lieutenant, together with a supply of clothes, ammunition and stores, and a small vessel 
io be attached to the garrison." On the subject of land acquisition, also, he was no unworthy 
successor to Cooke. During his Governorship, the Jesuits' College of Bandora laid claim to a 
■considerable tract of land, which he refused to deliver to them ; the Portuguese straightway threat- 
-ened to resort to arms, whereupon Sir Gervase characterised their action as treasonable and 


declared all the Jesuits' land forfeited to the Crown. This general policy, which had for it& 
ultimate object the colonisation and enrichment of our islands, must have been continued by 
Captain Gary, who received the reins of government on the death of Sir Gervase in May 1667. 
For, otherwise, there can be but little significance in the statement of the three gentlemen who 
jointly carried out the duties of Portuguese Viceroy in 1670, to the effect that " Henry Gary, 
Governor of the Island of Bombay, is very astute and an enemy of the Portuguese nation." A 
glance at the revenue statenf:ent submitted by Mr. Gary to the Secretary of State in 1667, will 
show to what extent we were indebted to these early representatives of English dominion for their 
astuteness and foresight. Think of Garcia da Orta's yearly quit-rent of £85 or l,432i pardaos; 
of Mestre" Diogo's payment of 1,375 pardaos or £80 sterling per annum ; and then contrast it 
with the following estimate, drawn out by Gary : — 

Rent of — 


































The Tobacco Stanck or Farm... 


The Taverns 



The Account of Customs 



The Aoconnt of Cocoanuts 



More may be advanced 

Total Xeraphins 
which at 13 Xeraphins for 22/6 sterling amounts to 

, 1,129 


18 Xeraphins. 


1 ^6,490 



The strengthening of the garrison, also, was not neglected ; for according to the letter 
which accompanied the above statement, Mr. Gary had raised its numbers to 285, by the enlist- 
ment of French, Portuguese, and Natives. 

Notwithstanding, however, the laudable attempts of these three first Governors to 
augment the social and economic importance of Bombay, the policy of aggrandisement cannot 
be considered to have met with very definite success, until after the transfer of the islands from 
the Crown to the Company in the year 1668. The cause of the transfer is stated by Fryer to 
have been " the pomp and expenses maintained by Gary I " and by another writer, a desire 
on the part of Charles II. to pacify the annoyance felt by the East India Company at 1)ho 
conclusion of the Treaty of Breda. The true motive probably was the complete indifference of 
the King to the value and welfare of his lately-acquired possessions, and the very keen desire of 
the Council at Surat, firstly, to put an end to the quarrels which had arisen between themselves 
and the Bombay Governors on the question of the issue of navigating passes, and secondly, to 
obviate the hostilities with the natives of India, which were occasioned by the high-handed 
actions of the Crown representatives, and for which the powers in India held the Company 
responsible. The increase of population, which had taken place by 1675, must have resulted., 
for the most part, from the actions of the Company, to whom the Port and Island were trans- 
ferred by the Royal Charter of March 27th, 1668, " to be held in free and common soccage, as 
of the Manor of East Greenwich," at a farm-rent of £10, payable on the 30th September in 
each year. Into the details of the transfer, — the reception of the Commissioners by Captain 
Gary, the petition of the Portuguese Gentus and others, the fate of " one Peter Ste- 
phenson, who at our first lauding, was very mutinous and refractory, and laid down his 
arms, having used many oaths and imprecations that he would never serve the. Honourable 
Company," it is not our purpose to enter. Passing reference, however, may bo made to the 
"Portugal scrivan (clerk) Ramsimar (Ramchandra Shenvi), who "is so necessary for his 
knowledge of all the affairs of the island by his so long residence here, that we are forced to 
make use of him, desiring your approbation." One is tempted to believe that Ramchandra 
was not the sole representative of his caste in these islands, that, in addition to the classes who 
are definitely stated to have been herein 1665, there were Brahmins also, the remnant of thbse 


whom tyranny had ■ driven into the territory of the Mahrattas. The policy of the Company in 
respect to its new territory is shadowed forth in the following note of the 7th September 1668, 
recorded by the Oouneil at Surat :— " It being the Honourable Company's desire that we contrive 
the best way for the making Bombay a port for the exportation and importation of goods and 
persons to and from Persia, Mokha, and other parts ; and for the effecting of this that w© employ 
at present the Chestnut pink and get some other vessel to be there that merchants may be en- 
couraged to come thither, and further that we advise them what shipping will be fitting for the 
encouraging this affair, and they will send them us. We deliberately considering thereon do 
find many reasons inducing us to build them shipping in this country, where timber, iron work, car- 
penters, and many other materials are very cheap, the building far more substantial than in England 
and more proper for these parts, in regard they will require no sheathing nor caulking more 
than the decks, and by the industry of these people from what ihey have learned from our 
nation, as handsomely built as our English vessels, and yet further for the drawing merchants to 
the port, who may be encouraged when they see us building shipping there, and for the en- 
couragement of the natives in setting them on work, so fhat the money expended will remain in the 
island and the people be the better able to pay those duties and rents annually received from them, 
the best timber being procurable near at hand very cheap." The ultimate object of the Company 
was identical with that of Cooke, namely the encouragement of settlers, and the expansion of 
trade ; manifesting itself in the appointment of an officer from England to superintend shipbuild- 
ing, the deputation of two others to superintend the construction and repair of the fortifications, 
and in an order to purchase lands in the immediate vicinity of the Fort, " provided the expense did 
not exceed £1,500," to encourage plantations of pepper and manufactures of cloths and to allow 
all inhabitants ''a moderate toleration." Hence comes it that we read of Mr. Philip Gyfford 
" raising and in a manner finishing the bastions, a work which was still but beginning by the 
rest;" of the enrolment in 1668 of the survivors of Sir Abraham Shipman's force, as the Hononr- 
able Company's "first European regiment " or " Bombay Fusiliers," known to a later generation 
as the .103rd Foot ; and of the supply of cannon to the small forts at Mazagon, Sion, Mahim and 

The increase of population occasioned by such measures, however, must have been small 
by comparison with that which resulted from the progressive policy of " that chivalric, intrepid 
man," -Mr. Gerald Aungier, who became President of Surat, on the death of Sir George Oxenden 
in July 1669. In dealing with the period of his administration, which was characterised in the main 
by the promise of religious liberty, freedom of trad^, and encouragement to native industry, it will 
be convenient for our purpose to distiaguish between those events or actions which indirectly 
affected the population of these islands and those which were directly responsible for a change in 
the nature and number of the inhabitants. It was apparent to Mr. Aungier in the first place that 
the dissatisfaction and disputes in regard to the ownership of lands constituted a serious 
impediment to the peaceful colonisation of the Company's territory. The Portuguese, powerless 
to resist the inroad of the English, had done their utmost to minimise the value of the 
ceded territory, by declaring that most of the lands of any value were the property of private 
individuals, and could not therefore under the articles of delivery be considered as the property 
of the Crown or Company, The earlier Governors, as we have seen, retaliated by seizing 
such properties on the most trivial pretexts, with the result that a feeling of irritation 
and unrest prevailed widely throughout the islands. It was to appease the landholders 
and at the same time to provide the Company with an area wide enough to admit of the 
colonisation -policy being attained, that the President formulated the proposals, which were 
eventually approved by the inhabitants and constituted the terms of the famous " Convention. " 
The most important clauses in the agreement were as follows : — 

" That for the better way of agreeing in the express charges that the Company have for 
the defence of this isle, the inhabitants and others aforesaid do offer to the Honourabla 
Company 20,000 Xeraphins (Rs. 13,850) yearly including in this sum the quit-rents that 
they did pay formerly." 

13 ' .. 


" That the estates that are seized on shall be delivered again to the old possessors 
of what conditions so ever." 

" That for the time to come if any estates on the isle come to the Honourable Company 
by any title whatsoever, or likewise by cutting any tree or seizing any oarts or batty- 
grounds for the use of building the City or other ground for the defence of it or any other 
fortification, that the quantity that amounts to the said estate with the quit-rents shall be 
deducted according to the value of the palmieras or the ground." 

To these and other nine clauses the Governor and Council, '' out of their earnest and unfeigned 
desire to promote the public good, peace and tranquillity of the isle, " signified their assent ; 
but inserted in the agreement certain conditions, which demand passing attention. They stipu- 
lated imprimis " that all royalties, rights, privileges and immunities which did formerly 
belong to the Crown of Portugal of Forks and Royal Rents of what nature or condition so ever 
shall be reserved as of right they belong to the Honourable Company." Secondly, " that thore 
shall be reserved for the Honourable Company all grounds on the water side within the compass 
of the isle to be disposed of in necessary occasions for the public, excepting such grounds where- 
in there are at present planted gardens of cocoanut trees or rice-grounds, as also churches, houses 
or warehouses of stone. And whensoever for the public good it shall bo necessary to make 
use of any of the said places or properties the Governor and Council shall make satisfaction to the 
interest in a reasonable manner." A third clause — to our mind the most important of all — signi- 
fied "that in regard the little isle Colio (Colaba) reachiiig from the outer point westwardly of the 
isle to the Paocari (Pakhadi) or parish called Polo (Pilav= A polio) will be of great use to the 
Honourable Company, in the good design which they have for the security and defence of this 
whole isle, it is hereby agreed that it shall be totally and wholly reserved for the use of the said 
Company, they making such reasonable satisfaction to the persons interested therein as hereafter 
is expressed." By this agreement, therefore, we gained the last of the Heptanesia which have 
been welded together to form a modern Island of Bombay. The original island of Mumbadevi 
or Bombay, Mazagon, Sivri, Parel and Varli had been gained by treaty ; Mahim, Sion, Dharavi 
and Vadala had been seized by force ; and finally Colaba passed over to us, after the estate 
holders therein had been bought out, and their respective demands fully satisfied. 

The second event, which indirectly affected the population, was the establishment of courts 
and justices, in the absence of which the satisfaction of the inhabitants could not be assured, 
nor that the peaceful condition of affairs, which was so essential to the growth of the 
community, be attained. On the 2nd February 1670 the following resolution by the Governor 
and Council was recorded :— " The island of Bombay to be divided into two distinct precincts, 
one comprehending Bombay, Mazagaon and Girgaon ; and the other Mahim, Parel, Sion, 
Varli and the Puokerys (Pakhadis or hamlets) thereunto belonging. In each of these 
precincts there shall be five justices, who besides the particulars expressed in the laws shall 
have power to receive, hear and try and determine all plaints, bills, petitions and actions for sums 
of money not exceeding the value of five Xeraphins (Rs. 3^). To this end those of the first pre- 
cincts shall convene in the Custom House of Bombay every Friday at eight o'clock in the morning, 
and those of the second precincts in the Custom House of Mahim on every Wednesday of the same 
hour." The resolution further arranged for the appointment of " Perbes" (Prabhu clerks), and 
of a constable in every parish, '* who for an ensign of his office shall carry a staff tipped with 
silver and the Company's arms thereupon engraved, and shall attend those courts as necessity 
requires." A code of laws was also published in 1670, no trace of which is now extant ; it is 
noteworthy, however, that it was ordered to be translated into Portuguese and Kanarese. 
To us the prominence, given to Kanarese, appears at first sight curious, but can be explained, 
perhaps, by the fact that the early population of these islands was to a large extent of southern 
or Dravidian origin, that the Parsi was hardly known in Bombay, and that the bulk 
of our Marathi-speaking inhabitants immigrated only after the tolerant character of British 
rule had been more fully noised abroad. In 1675 the popularity of the judicial system had so 
far advanced, had, moreover, given rise to so great an influx of legal touts and others, who haunt 
"the dusty purlieus of law," that it was deemed essential to appoint a Judge for the island 



a salary of £ 1 20 per annum, with allowances consisting of " a horse or palanquin, a sumbrera or 
-sunshade boy, and one new gown a year." To guide this official at the outset of his work the 
following instructions were despatched from Surat on the 8th February 1676:— "As we desire 
that justice may be done, so we would have you take care that vexatious suits and contrivances 
laid by common barristers to disturb the quiet of good people, may be discouraged and prevented. 
And let the judge know from us that we expect he maintain the gravity, integrity and authority 
•of his oflBee, and that he doth not bring a disrepute on the Court of Bombay by lightness, partiality, 
self-seeking or countenancing common barristers, in which sort of vermin they say Bombay is 
very unhappy." Before quitting this subject, it may be remarked that one of President 
Aungier's large-minded proposals for improving Bombay was to build a Fair Common House, 
wherein might also be appointed Chambers for the Courts of Justice, warehouses and prisons. 
The remains of that Fair Common House are with us to this day, have indeed been visited by 
the writer. "Mapla For," as it is named, that is to say "the gated enclosure of the Maplas, or 
half- Arab Musalmans of the Malabar Coast, stands about 300 yards north of the north-west corner 
'of the modern Elphinstone Circle, on the west side of Borah Bazar Street, immediately beyond 
its meeting with Gunbow Lane." In this building, as originally designed by Aungier, justice 
was dispensed until the year 1720. Its ruined plinths and staircases constitute to-day one of 
the most ancient monuments of British dominion in this island. 

A third event, which must have insensibly attracted members of the trading community 
to Bombay, was the establishment in 1676 of a mint for the coinage of " rupees, pies 
and bujruks " ; and more especially so, as such coin was not current outside British 
territory, and yet was favourably regarded by the native community. We have this on 
the authority of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the traveller, who in 1678 wrote that " Since 
the present King of England married the Princess of Portugal, who had in part of her portion 
the famous port of Bombeye, where the English are very hard at work to build a strong Fort, 
they coin both silver, copper and tin. But that money will not go to Surat, nor in any part of 
the great Mogul's dominions, or in any of the territories of the Indian kings; only it passes 
among the English in their Fort, and some two or three leagues up in the country, and in the 
villages along the coast ; the country people that bring them their wares being glad to take that 

To further encourage those, who had it in mind to emigrate from the mainland to Bom- 
bay, but who at the same time might have hesitated before settling in a region so open to attack 
by sea, President Aungier took in hand the improvement of the fortifications, and formed a 
•certain number of the inhabitants into a militia. By 1673 we find the Fort supplied " with 120 
pieces of ordnance, 60 field pieces in their carriages" ; and manned " by 300 Englishmen, 400 
Topasses or Portugal firemen, 500 well-armed militia under English leaders, 300 Bhandaris 
•with clubs and other weapons, and some thousands more that could be relied on if matters came to 
-a push." Stark as the deil, writes Sir James Campbell, was the old Fort, what time Commodore 
KicklofFe van Goen with the Dutch fleet endeavonred to take the island by surprise ; and to these 
artificial safeguards was added the greater natural bulwark of human intrepidity. For " with 
the calmness of a philosopher and the courage of a centurion," Aungier so exerted himself that 
•the Dutch fleet " melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven," and was seen no more. 
We at this distance of time cannot perchance fully realise the extraordinary effect upon the 
growth of the island of Anngier's personality, but the Surat Council recognised it in a letter to 
Bantam of the 31st January 1673, stating that " Since the latter end of May last our President 
iath been in his government of Bombay # # * But his presence by animating the 
people being so alsolutely necessary, and the great good he hath done by establishing the English 
-laws and courts of judicature and still doth in strengthening the island, is of such force that he 
prefers his honours in maintaining the place before any other interest." 

Not the least important of the actions which stimulated the growth of our population 
was the building of a new town within the fortification. As early as 1668, an exodus of weavers 
from Chaul had necessitated the opening of a street, " stretching from the Custom House (north- 


west of present Mint) to the Fort "; and from that date onwards, notwithstanding Jesuit- 
recalcitrance, land was taken up, and dwellings built, not only for the immigrant native, but for 
the English writers and servants of the Company. Ware-houses, a hospital, streets "reaching from 
Judge NiccoU's house to the water," stables, a " Dog-House," Mint and Fortifications necessi- 
tated the presence of labourers and bricklayers, their ^ives and families, who came hither from 
Snrat or from districts nearer the island. " Kalyan at Es. 10 a month, Mahmud, Somji and 
Dhanji at Rs. 9, and Lahori at Rs. 4| " journeyed hither under the orders of the Council, " to be-- 
gin and finish the houses formerly ordered to be built betwixt the Custom House and the Fort." 
In the minor matter of supplies for the Town and Island, the Company in no Tvise permitted 
its wishes to bo jeopardised. The immigrants and settlers must find a steady food-supply 
within the island ; for otherwise one cannot hope to retain them as our subjects. Such must 
have been the thoughts of the Council, when they bade Bombay take heart and, in defiance of 
the malicious practices of the Portuguese, " send vessels down to Manglor and Bassalor 
(Barcelor) to lade rice there for the supply of the Island." "The Revenge, the Good 
Hope, the Phoenix, the Moody's Ketch and the Hoigh Despatch " were all commissioned in 
1677 to bring rice out of Kanara, in order " that we might not be beholden to our unkind 
Portuguese neighbours." 

Now, however conducive the institution of laws and justice, the settlement of internal 
disputes and the protection of a strong garrison may have been to the colonisation 6f these 
islands, the very considerable immigration which had taken place by the date of Aungior's 
death must be ascribed mainly to the distinct proposals which he formulated for the encourage- 
ment of settlers. " Liberty was to be granted as a particular privilege to those that 
inhabit on the Island of Bombay to trade not only to all these parts of India, but also to. 
the })orts and islands of the South Seas, Bantam not excepted." Companies or fellowships 
" were to be erected for the better and more able carrying on of any trade," and certain privileges - 
and immunities were " to be granted to the said societies for their greater encouragement. " 
The example of the Dukes of Florence and their enrichment of the Port of Leghorne was 
adduced as a strong reason for organising a system of loans to honest merchants ; one or two 
years' whole pay was to be granted to all artificers or handicraftsmen, who would consent to, 
come and live on the Island with their families ; while " in orderlo preserve the Government 
in a constant regular method free from that confusion, which a body composed of so many nations 
will be subject to, it were requisite that the several nations at present inhabiting or hereafter to in- 
habit on the Island of Bombay be reduced or modelled into so many orders or tribes, and that eaph 
nation may have a Chief or Consul of the same nation appointed over them by the Governor aiid 
Council, whose duty and pfiBce must bo to represent the grievances which members of the said 
nation shall receive from the Christians or any other, as also to answer for what faults any of the 
said nation shall commit, that the offender be brought to punishment, and that what duties or 
fines are due to the Company may be timely satisfied." Any of these Consuls, " who merit well 
from the Honourable Coinpany by good service, advancing of trade, inhabitants or shipping " 
were to be rewarded " by some particular honours and specimens of the Honourable Company's 
favour towards them." Arrangement was also made for the constant and secure supply of provi- 
sions, for strict supervision of the- shops " of the Moodys or victuallers," and for a system of set 
prices on all provisions, "regulated in weight and measure according to justice and the public 
good iind encouragement of the inhabitants." The utmost latitude of trade was to be permitted 
lO weavers of cotton and silk, with a view to encouraging manufactures ; no discouraging taxes 
should be imposed ; freedom was to be granted to all religions ; every effort in a word, was to be 
expended in preventing that stagnation of trade and depopulation, which had erstwhiles resulted 
from the religious fanaticism of their Portuguese rivals. Not only on the comfort of the native 
community was the heart of Gerald Aungier set ; the well being of his own countrymen engaged 
his attention. He marked the disastrous consequences, which had resulted from the intermar- 
riage of the Portuguese with low-caste women of the native community, and made a 
special request to the Company to send out English women to the island. It was no fault 
of the President that the Englishwonaen did not invariably prove desirable members of 
the community, that the Surat Council wrote as follows in December 1675 :—" And 

"whereas you give us notice that some of the woman are grown scandalous to our nation, 
religion and government, we require you in the Honourahle Company's name to give them all 
fair warning that they do apply themselves to a more sober and Christian conversation, other- 
vfise the sentence is this that they shall be confined totally of their liberty to go abroad and fed 
with bread and water till they are embarked on boardship for England." The system of im- 
porting " needy Englishwomen " must be regarded in truth as a praiseworthy and philanthropic 
endeavour to save Englishmen from the charge of trifling with their nationality and raising up a 
liybrid and possibly weakly people. 

Now the wisdom of the Company and the manifest desire of the English in Bombay to 
make the most of their possessions bore fruit in due season. In 1671 the Mahajan of the Surat 
Bania community informed the President that some of their members were anxious to settle in 
Bombay, provided they were assured of certain privileges. The answer of the President was 
auch as might have been expected from one whose watchword was " Toleration and Progress." 
Many of these energetic merchants must have journeyed hither during the rule of Aungier and 
assisted in laying the foundations of trade. Of one in particular — Nima Parakh — who voyaged 
from the City of Diu in 1677, documentary evidence still exists, showing how "that eminent mer- 
chant has expressed his desire to settle with his family and trade on the island of Bombay, from 
the fame which he has heard of the Honourable Company's 'large commerce, upright dealing, 
justice and moderation to all persons that live under the shadow of their Government." For- 
tified by the written assurance that they should " enjoy the free exercise of their religion," 
should be secure from all molestation, and should not under any circumstances be compelled to 
-embrace Christianity, Nima Parakh and his kinsmen sailed from their old honie, forming in 
sooth the vanguard of that huge company of traders, which has invaded this island in the course 
of the last two centuries. In the wake of the Vani came the Armenian, of whom we find ihe 
■Surat Council writing as follows in the year 1676 ; — " These are at the entreaty of Khoja Kara- 
kuz and other Armenians concerned in the ship S. Francisco that is lately put into Bombay. 
As they have been very importunate with us to write in their affair, we do desire you to coun- 
ienanoe and assist them as merchants with boats and other necessaries, as also with convenient 
warehouses to protect them from the rains." Khoja Minaz and Khoja Delaune were the names 
of two others, who came here about the same date, and swelled the numbers of that community, 
which rapidly formed a settlement within the fort enclosure, and left the legacy of its name to 
the Armenian Lane, which is with us to this day. * 

And what may we say of the Parsis ? Is it possible that they tarried quietly on the main- 
land, while Armenian and Vani sought a new mart for their wares ? The character of the race 
forbids such a suggestion ; and our belief in their presence is confirmed by Fryer's remark that 
" on the other side of the great inlet to the sea is a great point, abutting against Old Woman's 
Island and is called Malabar Hill ; a rocky, woody, mountain ; yet sends forth long grass ; atop 
of all is a Parsi Tomb lately reared." That the Parsis were resident io our island by 1675, is 
unquestionable ; for not only had they built a Dakhma or Tower-of-Silence, but Modi 
Hirji Vacha had founded an Agiari in the Fort about the year 1671, which was 
subsequently destroyed by the great fire of 1803. One Kharsedji Pochaji, also, a 
resident of Broach, discerned possibilities of profit in the erection of the fortifications. 
We read of him as contractor in 1664 for the supply of common labourers and baskets, 
required for the building of the town wall. Kharicdji prospered, we doubt it not ; for 
he was born of a race that has ever prospered by intelligence, industry and philanthropy. 
The presence of one other community wo note in theso years. In a letter to the Directors, 
dated January 24th, 1677, the Deputy Governor and Council of Bombay write that '' Many 
families of Brahmans, daily leaving the Portuguese territory, repair hither frightened by the 
Padres, who upon the death of apy person force nil his children to be Christians. Even some of 
the chiefest, v;ho still live at Bassein, and others build them houses here, therein placing their 
wives and children against a time of danger." Our island had become a place of refuge, a Town 

* The reason foT the grainal disappearance of the Armenians from our Island has never been satisfactorily determined. 
Mr E H Aitken saggesta that In the straggle for Trade, the Armenian learned by experience that he could not hope to compete 
with the Parsi and Bania, and therefore decamped to Calcutta, where the Parsi is practically a uon-enfity. 



of Zoar to the Portrguese cities of the plain! And the course followed by thoae Bandera Brahmins- 
was but typical of a general movement, resulting from the insolence of the Mahommedan or the- 
bigotry of the Portuguese. " The population numbers 60,000," wrote Fryer, " a mixture of most 
of the neighbouring countries, most of them fugitives and vagabonds." Like the immortal city 
of the Seven Hills, our city owes her foundation, in some measure, to vagabond adventurers : but 
simnltaneously with their arrival, there immigrated men of good standing, men of sound com- 
mercial knowledge, who might assist the tiny port in turning the presence of the outcast and 
refugee to good account. 

Such was the population of Bombay in the year of our Lord, 1677 ; the strangest colluvies- 
gentium, brought hither by desire partly of gain, partly of escape from tyranny, with a con- 
siderable substratum of almost prehistoric settlers ; scattered all over the Heptanesia, iroim 
" the little low barren island, of no other profit but to keep the Company's antelopes and 
beasts of delight, " as far as Sion " manured by Cobnbees " and Mahim, with its " pi-etty 
cus!om-house and guard-house" and the venerable tomb of a Musulman Pir : the chief 
settlement a mile-long town, '' at a distance enough from the Fort," with low olea-thatched' 
houses and " a reasonable handsome bazaar " at one end, " looking into the field, where cows 
and buffaloes graze." In charge of this motley of races were a few Englishmen, possessed of 
" only a burying place, called Mendham's Point (Cooperage) from the first man's name therein 
interred, where are some few tombs that make a pretty show at entering the haven." The period 
which ends in 1677 is characterised, as we have endeavoured to show, by the complete success of 
tliatpolicy of expansion, which commended itself alike to Humphrey Cooke, the servant of the- 
Crown, and to Gerald Aungier, the servant of the Company. The most fitting epilogue to the ta!e 
of these twelve or fifteen years will be found in the writings of a French physician, M. Dellon,. 
who visited the island in 1673 : — '' The English have since that time built there a very fine Fort, 
where the President of the East India Company commonly keeps residence. They have also- 
laid the foundation of a city, where they grant liberty to all strangers of what religion or nation 
soever to settle themselves, and exempt them from all manner of taxes for the first twenty years. 
We were treated here with abundance of civility, which we in part attributed to the good under- 
standing there was at the time betwixt those two nations." Even so ! The alien races, dwelling 
in our islands, were in the enjoyment of political liberty and equality before the law, about a 
century ere France introduced them to her own peasantry across the dolorous abyss of the Terror t 


Period the Second, — 1675 to 1718. 

Our second period extends from the year 1675, or for the sake of convenience, from the 
date of President Auagier's death, up to the year 1718, when the population of Bombay, 
according to the statement of the Beverend Richard Cobbe, was 16,000. From 60,000 to 
16,000 within the space of forty-one years ! Can the estimate be acouratn? With the gulf of two 
dead centuries between him and ourselves, it is impossible to decide. But this much one can 
with assurance say : — that the chief events of these yeiirs rendered a decline of population in 
no wise impossible : nay more, the decrease was the very natural legacy of a period fraught 
with both domestic and external dangers. At the outset we discern the presence of trouble, a 
note of mourning for the departure of a chivalrous and inlrepid statesman. For on the 30th. 
June 1 677 Aungier, our master-pilot, set forth upon his last voyage to the Unknown : and 
Posterity, musing regretfully upon his departure, is fain to re-echo the words of those whom he 
left behind : — " We cannot rightly express the reality of our grief at the perusal of the- 
deplorable news of the death of our late noble President. Mnltiplicity of words may multiply 
the sense of onr loss, hut cannot dopaint its greatness and the knowledge we have of the true- 
worth and integrity of his successors. It shall be our continual prayer for a blessing on your 
great affairs " — (Letter from the Bombay Council, dated July 11th, 1677.) One relic of his 
rule is with us yet — a silver chalice, which he presented to the Christian community of 
Bombay in 1675. 

The death of Aungier was the prelude to a period of gloom and depression. " The last 
quarter of the seventeenth century was not only devoid of any great achievement or of any 
appreciable progress in manners and morals, but was on the contrary a witness to sedition and 
strife, immorality, nnhealthiness, and anarchy at home, and invasion, piracy and arrogance 
abroad." Severe as this verdict of Dr. da Cunha may appear, it will be found on closer examina- 
tion justifiable. Let us glance first at the state of the public health during these years, than 
which we reckon no more potent factor in the rise or fall of population. As early as November 
1675, the climatic conditions of the island were so deadly that a hundred English soldiers 
perished ; while in 1689, when the Rev. John Ovington arrived here, "one of the pleasantest 
spots in India seemed no more than a parish graveyard." OB the twenty-four passengers who 
sailed hither with him, twenty died before the rains ceased, and of the ship's company fifteen. 
Overcome with horror of the island, the Chaplain wrote : " As the ancients gave the epithet of 
fortunate to some islands in the West, because of their delightfulness and health, so the moderns 
may, in opposition to them, denominate Bombay the unfortunate one in the East, because of thfr 
antipathy it bears to those two qualities." " A ilha da boa vida," (the island of the good life) 
was nouffht but a charnel-house, wherein " two Mussoons wore the age of a man." Upon 
young European children the effects of the climate were appalling ; not one in twenty reached 
maturity, or indeed passed beyond the stage of infancy. " Rachel weeping for her 
children would not be comforted, because they were not." '' Of what use " cries 
Anderson " was it to send trusty factors and hardy soldiers thither ? They breathed the 
poisonous air but a few short months, after which their services and lives were lost to 
their employers for ever." Even Child, when appointed Accountant of Bombay and 
Second in Council by the President and Council of Surat, pleaded his apprehensions- 
of disease and positively refused to accept the office. " Fluxes, dropsy, scurvy, barbiers or loss 
of the use of hands and feet, gouit, stone, malignant and putrid fevers," such, according to Fryer, 
were the disorders to which the unfortunate inhabitants of the island succumbed ; and more 
prevalent and terrible than all was a disease known as " the Chinese death " {mort de Chine),. 
a corruption of the Portuguese " Mordisheen," which is derived in reality from the Marathi 
-_^ or jfrs^ in allusion to the intestinal agony which characterised its attacks. The sympathy 

voked in our minds by this terrible record of disease and death is peculiarly intensified, on 
1 mine of the great plague which wasted Western India between 1 686 and 1696. " We have 

bundance of men sick and many of them die," wrote the Bombay Council ; " we are finishing 
the account of His Majesty's ship "Phcenix," but by reason of some of lier men lying sick in the 
h uital and we know not how God will deal with them, cannot close the account to send up^ 


•which, as soon as we can, shall be done," The absence of medical aid, '' the absolute want of 
^ood Europe medicines, that should have been yearly sent out fresh" aided the progress of Death, 
•who laid his finger upon native and European alike. 

'* avra^ siȣ(t' cLvrotiTt ^sT^Qs E^^EitEVxtr ipius, 
j3a^X. cttii 5e itv^tit vExiJwv xalovTO ^ttf/.uh," 

Disease and Crime, Immorality and Death reigned supreme. No community was 
spared. " Forasmuch as by the death of Dr. Skinner," observed the Council at Surat, " the 
Island of Bombay is destitute of a physician and the Island very sickly, and a great many poor 
people and soldiers laying in danger of perishing for want of the help and advice of a doctor, 
we resolved to entertain Mr. Bartlett in the said station, allowing him £4 a month to be 
paid in Xeraphins, at 20i. to the Xeraphin, according to the custom of the island, 
together with the same allowance for his diet as Doctor Skinner was allowed, and the usual 
assistance belonging to the hospital. We left it to his own choice whether his time should 
commence here or at his arrival .it Bombay with this proviso, that if it commences here, then 
he is to bear his own charges down. If not, till he is arrived upon the island, then his charges 
should be borne by the Company. And the island being in great necessity we gave him orders, 
to prepare himself to go overland with all speed. There being a groat mortality upon the island 
amongst the English as well as the natives, we were willing to encourage all people that offered 
their service to us, and entertained Henry Critchiow as Boatswain of the Bandar at Bombay at 
the usual pay that others have had before." Think for a moment of our doctors, our hospitals 
our plague departments to-day, and of our utter inability to prevent the people flying from the 
island ; and then think of our brethren in those days, grappling like ourselves with pestilence and 
fever, but with only one medical man on £4 a month between them and death ! Is it surprising 
that the population decreased ? Of a surety, not so. As late as 1706, matters were unchanged. 
" We are only eight covenant servants including the Council and but two that write, besides two 
raw youths taken ashore out of ships, and most of us often sick in this unhealthful, depopu- 
lated and ruined Island." So writes Sir Nicholas Waite in the January of 1706 ; and later sends 
up that bitter cry : " We are six including your Council and some of us often sick. It is 
morally impossible without an overruling Providence to continue longer from going under 
ground if we have not a large assistance. " Alas ! that assistance could not be obtained. Once 
more, in January 1707, the appeal goes forth : " My continued indisposition and want of 
assistance in this unveryhealthful island has been laid before the managers and your Court. Yet 
I esteem myself bound in gratitude and I will briefly inform what material occurs till I leave 
this place or the world." * 

But whence arose this terrible mortality ? How came it that Heitor da Silveira's 
" Island of the Good Life " was nought but a charnel-house ? The chief reason was probably the 
gradual silting up of the creeks, which divided the island of Bombay from its dependencies, Old 
Woman's Island, Varli, Mahim, Mazagon and Parel. At high-tide the ocean roared through the 
breaches, overflowed the lands, and laid a pestilential deposit which at low-tide exhaled mephitic 
and deadly vapours. That these low swamps wore productive of malaria certainly suggested 
itself to the Court of Directors ; for between 1684 and 1710 they constantly urged upon their 
Oouncil at Surat the pressing need for stopping the breaches and for reclamation. " Redeem 
those drowned lands of Bombay," they wrote in 1684, " for which we shall now propose you a 
method which, we think, cannot fail. That is, you may agree to give the undertal^ers every 
Saturday night a day and a half's pay for every day's work for every man they shall 
employ in that service, part money and part rice ; the rice at a price by which 
we may be a little gainers." Three months later they resume, "Prosecute with effect 
the draining of our overflooded ground at Bombay, as vv'e wrote you last year " ; while 
in 1703, 1708 and again in 1710, we find the Court directing the Bombay Government to 
" stop the breaches on any tolerable terms," to encourage men to undertake the t-ask by granting 
them leases of land so reclaimed, and to send to Karwar, if neces^jjry, for "people well 
skilled in stopping breaches." A second cause of the general unhealthiness is commented upon 
in a letter of the 20th April 1708 from th&Coui-t to the Bombay Government : " The buckshaw- 
ing or dunging the toddy trees with' fish, occasions in a great measure, the unwholesomeness 


of the Bombay air. Of this the venomous and putrid buckshaw fly which swarm in such 
abundance as to be very nauseous to the inhabitants is a plain proof. If the trees w6re not buok- 
shawed, the loss of their fruitfuhiess would be repaid by the general beriefit of rendering the place 
healthy. Or if the buckshaw was laid at a sufficient depth under the earth to prevent its cor- 
ruption and infecting the air and breeding that fly, the air would not suffer. Another cause 
of the unhealthy air is the thickness of the toddy trees at Mahim and Worli Woods, which 
hinders the land breeze that sets in every morning from cleansing the air and cooling the ground. 
If those woods were thinned, the remaining trees would bear the better. For the sake of their 
health the people are contented their rents be diminislied by cutting some trees down and 
prohibiting the buckshawing the rest. By this means the health of the inhabitants will be pro- 
moted." So far as the European community w?is concerned, the virulence of the diseases, arising 
from the above-mentioned sources, was intensified by the careless life which its members led. 
Anderson's reference to their immorality and dissoluteness is corroborated by the statement of 
an eye-witness, Mr. Ovington the Chaplain, who wrote as follows : — " I cannot without horror 
mention to what a pitch all vicious enormities were grown in this place. ■ Their principles of 
action, and the consequent evil practices of the English, forwarded their miseries, and contribut- 
ed to fill the air with those pestilential vapours that seized their vitals and speeded their hasty 
passage to the other world. Luxury, immodesty, and a prostitute dissolution of manners found 
still now matter to work upon." These closing years of the seventeenth and opening years of the 
eighteenth centnry form indeed a sad chapter in the history of the island. Not on the European 
only,but on the native population also fell the dread hand of fever and plague ; and to increase 
their burden, an angry Deity sent forth a hurricane, which destroyed the growing crop and wrecked 
a large number of their boats. There was none that might stand, as Moses did of old, between 
them and calamity; and therefore they died or fled from the " unhealthful and ruined " island. 

Other events which barred the progress of affairs in these years, and which, if not 
directly occasioning a decrease of population, at any rate, militated against its augmentation, 
were the internal feuds and domestic troubles of the Company. There wore firstly " the inter- 
lopers," mentioned in a letter from the Court in 1683, wliose aim it was to divert the trade of 
the Company into their own hands. " We send you enclosed an authentic copy of a new 
Charter granted us by His Majesty under the great seal of England, for the suppressing all 
interloping and interlopers, of which we shall write you more largely by our ships." So wrote 
the Directors i and in the following year appealed against the action of the Ostenders to the 
King, who ordered a mnn-of-war to intercept their vessels. That the machinations of these 
merchant-rivals considerably hampered the actions of the Company is evident from a statement 
of the Court in 1684 that " Though we have been in a hurry of trouble and confusion and forced 
to please everybody during the competition of the interlopers and the rebellion of Bombay, yet 
we hope the arrival of this and our following ships will put bm General and Council into such 
spirit and our affairs into such a flourishing condition that good discipline may be restored again 
as well in our factories as in our garrisons;" while on the 27th October 1693 we read that 
"after a multitude of conflicts with the interlopers and their adherents and all others that have 
envied or emulated the Company's former prosperity, we have obtained of their present Majesties 
King William and Queen Mary a charter of coniirmation of our present and all our former 
charters, and are in possession of it, under the great seal of England, bearing date the 7th instant. 
Of this charter we shall send you copies by our shipping, and think it fit that before that comes 
to your hands, upon receipt of this letter, j'ou should make such solemn public intimation of it 
to the natives as is usual upon such occasions." 

The troubles caused by the prevalence of disease and trade-rivalry were heightened by 
internal dissension. In 1683 Captain Richard Keigwin, who commanded the garrison and 
was Third Member of Council, made the reduction of military salaries and the lowering 
of the rank of military officers a pretext for raising the standard of rebellion ; the Deputy 
Governor was seized, the authority of the Company was annulled by proclamation, and the 
island declared to be under the King's protection. Garrison, militia, and inhabitants all 
renounced their obedience to the Company ; and confusion was rife till the 19th Novem- 



ber 1684, on which date Sir Thomas Grantham prevailed upon Keigwin to formally 
surrender the island. Duels between " Mr. Enoch Walsh and Mr. Ralph Hartley, the 
latter being wounded in three places, " embezzlement of revenue by " Mr. Thomas 
Woodford, one of your Honour's factors, " the troublesome behaviour of Hall, " a restless, 
factious and turbulent-spirited man, " robberies " of several Moormen's houses, " Lieut. Shaw's 
report that " a Proclamation had been torn down by some person unknown, " and the regret of 
the Governor that " there should be any person on this island so disrespectful to Government 
as to tear a Proclamation "—all these events testify to the disorder and disturbance, which for 
some time marred the peaceful existence of Bombay inhabitants. Desertion was not infrequent ; 
for Lieut. James Hanmer was informed in August 1694 that " there being runaway from this 
island in the Ruby frigate boat sundry persons belonging to the shipping in the road, these are 
to enorder you to make strict enquiry after them, and if on this island surprise them ; " while in 
1701 " the nakhudas of the Moors' ships having paid off their lascars and being dubious whether 
or no some of them may riot endeavour to run away, " Lieut. William Shaw was ordered " to 
permit no lascars to go off the land at Mahim, but to send such as shall endeavour it down hither 
(to Bombay). " 

Another obstruction to that old policy of expansion, which had raised our popu- 
lation to 60,000 in the year 1675, was the rivalry between the old or London Company 
and the new or English Company. In Surat in 1700, the affairs of the former were suffering 
seriously from the attacks and misrepresentations of Sir Nicholas Waite, the Chairman of the 
New Company, of whom Sir John Gayer wrote as follows to the Directors : — " Captain Hudson 
will inform your Honours how that Sir Nicholas Waite said he would spend Rs. 20,000, but 
that he would have your flag at Surat struck. Captain Hudson will also inform you of other of 
Sir Nicholas' follies which render him little in the eyes of Europeans, if not of others. By what 
we hear, Lucas is the person that spurs him on to such rashness to the detriment of the interest 
of the nation, not considering what the issue may be, so that he may but gratify his malice to your 
Honours." In January of 1701 ill-feeling and scandal were heightened by the seizure of Sir 
John Gayer and his gi'enadiers, and their coniinement at Surat. Though ostensibly the work of 
'• the barbarous and treacherous Moors," Sir Nicholas Waite appears to have been the instigator 
of an enterprise, which caused " the greatest amusement to the newsmongering natives ; " for on 
the 28th February 1701 we find the Bombay Council expressing their gratification at Sir John's 
release in the following terms : — " We heartily rejoice for the good news, and we render all due 
praise and thanks to Almighty God for your release from so close a confinement, and that it hath 
pleased him to make our innocence appear and the wicked designs of our malicious adversaries 
in their true colours before the face of the heathens. Now Sir Nicholas may have time to look 
into his actions, strictly examining himself, and at last say : '0 what have i done !' May the 
shame and infamy to which he most maliciously exposed his fellow-subjects together with all 
other his undigested politics fall heavy on his head, being but the just reward for such evil 
ministers. We hope with your Excellency that the general certificate sent to Court attested by 
all the eminent merchants may meet with the desired effect to the confusion of our 
enemies. " It might have been supposed that the union of the two Companies in 1702 would 
effect the much-needed settlement of this internecine struggle, and render the opening period of 
the eighteenth century more prosperous than the immediately preceding years. But to such a 
pitch had the rivalry of the two companies attained, so opposed were the interests of their res- 
pective servants, that distrust and antagonism still flourished, occasional skirmishes at the out- 
posts took place, and only the coldest and most formal civilities were exchanged by the two 
chiefs and their respective Councils. Mutual constraint, incessant quarrelling rendered the 
nnion of 1702 a mere formality ; and the resolution " to obliterate all past heats " was carried 
to no practical issue until the year 1708, when the Earl of Godolphin, after patient enquiry into 
all matters of dispute, published his famous award of th.e 29th September. From that date the 
two companies became in fact as well as in style " the United Company of Merchants of England 
trading to the East Indies." But some few years were yet to. pass, ere the disorganisation 
resulting from these internal feuds cquld be rectified, and domestic peace, which exercises so 
marked an effect upon trade and population, be attained. 


Added to the disorder engendered by wide-spread ill-health and private quarrels, were 
external troubles of no mean magnitude. Ever since the year 1672 the political horizon had 
been overshadowed by the presence of a daring band of corsairs, — the Sidis, ancestors of that 
enlightened prince, the present Habshi of Janjira. Sambhal, their chieftain, who held the 
appointment of admiral to the Great Mogul, and was engaged in continual warfare with the 
Marathas, had burned several houses in Mazagon in ] 672; and, returning to Bombay in the 
year following, had scared away the inhabitants of Sion and taken possession of their houses. 
The evils attending the presence of these sea-rovers in Bombay is fully set forth in a letter 
from the Bombay Council to Surat, dated October 9th, 1677. " It is now several years, " they 
wrote, " that the Sidi's fleets have used this port as a place of refreshment and retreat on all 
occasions, with how much trouble to the Government and dissatisfaction to the inhabitants, 
your worships have been but too well acquainted. A few months past Sidi Sambhal received 
orders to surrender the fleet to Sidi Kasim. For several months he made demurs because 
his wife and children and his family were detained in Danda Rajpuri. These he received four 
days ago, and promised to deliver up the fleet excepting one of the great ships which he 
intended to keep to carry himself and his soldiers to Surat. Sidi Kasim being impatient of 
having part of his fleet detained from him and instigated by that unadvised Subhan Kuli who 
came from Surat about three mouths past with 150 men to assist him, ere we were aware of it, 
did on Sunday last march up with all his force to Mazagon where Sidi Sambhal resided. 
We immediately sent Captain Keigwin with a guard of horse to keep the peace. Ere 
he could arrive they had begun the skirmish, and so obstinate were they, especially 
Sidi Kasim, that they were parted with much difiBculty, having shot four of the Com- 
pany's horses, whereof one is dead, and another in great danger, though it pleased none of 
the troopers were hurt. • * * We suppose it would be of great consequence that 
your worships made timely complaint of these outrages, not only to the Governor of Surat, 
but even to the King himself, and demanded large satisfaction for the death of our horses and 
the disturbance of the peace of the inhabitants and hindrance of our trade, merchants being 
frighted from coming hither by such hostile acts. " In 1678 Sidi Kasim appeared again, hauled 
his vessels ashore at Mazagon, quartered his men in the town and daily committed such acts 
of violence upon the Hindu inhabitants, that the latter in many cases escaped from the island. 
During the next four years there are constant references to this most troublesome opponent ; 
temporary agreements were made with him, and, being shortly afterwards broken, only served 
as an incitement to further enormities ; unarmed soldiers of the Bombay garrison were cut 
down by his Pathans in the Mazagon market ; the native population was most cruelly harried ; 
until by the early months of 1689 we find the Sidi fleet and army in undisturbed possession of 
Mahim, Mazagon and Sion ; and the English Governor and garrison practically besieged in the 
town and castle. So weak were the defences of the island, and so powerless was the garrison 
that, in Mr. Harris' opinion, if it had not been for the jealousy of Mukhtyar Khan, the Mogul 
General the Sidi might have conquered the whole island. Relief came in June 1690, after 
the promulgation by Aurangzeb of that humiliating ' firman ', whereby the English were permitted 
to trade, on promising to pay a heavy fine and to dismiss Child,. " the origin of all evil. '' The 
order expressly stipulated that the Sidi should evacuate Bombay ; which he eventually did on 
the 8th June in that year. But, as Hamilton ])oints out in his " New Account of the East Indies," 
he left to the inhabitants a bitter memento of his presence ; Mazagon Fort was a heap of burning 
ruins ; many a home was empty.; and the plague, as if intensified by his malice, grew more viru- 
lent and in four months' time slew more men than even he and his intemperate followers had done. 

To the violence of the " semi-barbarous African " was added the barely-concealed hostility 
of the Portuguese. Portuguese rule was moribund ; their province of Bassein was rapidly decay- 
ing • but the old hatred of the English was still alive, and disclosed itself in various acts of enmity. 
<' We have before took occasion," wrote the Bombay Governor in 1677, '' to speak of the bad 
neighbourhood we enjoy from the Portuguese. In the month of April last from a small 
beo-inning there had likely to have succeeded a quarrel betvreen us and them of no mean 
corisequence ". Again in 1684 comes a letter froia the Coilrt, saying " Yout letters this year 


intimating the encroachment of the Moghal's (iovernoi-a and the repeated affronts of the 
Portuguese, give us further cause to hasten you in the building of such bastions as are wanting." 
The refusal to pay customs-dues imposed by the Portuguese at Thana and Karanja, the impri- 
sonment of Frea John de Gloria by Judge Vauxe for having christened and received into the 
'Eomish Church " one Nathannel Thorpe, son to Lieutenant Thorpe, deceased, " the seizure of 
all lands and houses of the Portuguese at Parol, Mahim and elsewhere, on the plea that they had 
aided the invasion of the Sidi, these and other events of a similar nature all originated in that 
'deep-seated antagonism, which first sprang into being with the marriage-treaty between 
Charles and the Princess of Portugal. " They have stopped all provisions from coming to the 
island," cries Sir John Gayer in 1700, "All this puts the poor inhabitants into such a 
flousteraation that they think of nothins;' but flying off the island to save their little,, for fear 
they should lose all as they did when the Sidi landed. By this your Honours may perceive 
that if a course be not taken some way or other to correct the unparallelled pride and 
insolence of these Portuguese, no merchants of any worth will settle in Bombay whereby 
to increase its revenue. On the contrary it will go less daily by reason of the inhabitants' fears 
from the Portuguese, Moors and Shivajis, against whom they are sensible we have not strength 
to defend the island, though we may the fort." The obstruction offered by the Portuguese lasted 
till the conclusion of the period, with which we are now dealing. Guards were placed 
at Bandra and Sion to prevent provisions reaching the island ; to which we responded 
by ordering " Boatswain Wright with the raachva to weigh anchor and sail in company of 
our boats to protect them from the Portuguese" : boats, carrj'ing our rice, were fired 
upon from the Portuguese " block-house at Ourley " (Kurla) ; while in 1702 the fort at 
Mahim was strengthened at a cost of 3,000 X«raphins, " which We designed for an immediate 
strength to the island, in case it should be invaded by the Moors or Portuguese, with 
whom we had reason to expect -a breach and that speedily " ! Attacks and reprisals, obstruc- 
tion and disorganisation, loss of trade and of population, are the chief characteristics of a 
struggle, which was not to end until Ohimnaji Appa strode victorious over the battlements 
of Bassein. 

Other enemies were not wanting to assist in our discomfiture. Captain Oglethorpe 
reported in 1686 that great mischief bad been done by pirates in the Gulf of Mokha, Whether 
Arabs, or those termed Cola or Malabar Pirates, these marauders had caused no little trouble in 
the past ; had lanced to death the unfortunate Mr. Bourchier, and placed our trade in jeopardy. 
And once more we learn that " Volup Venny (Valabh Veni) the rendeir (farmer) of the custo^is " 
is very uneasy, " finding that no vessels can pass unplundered by one sort of nation or 
other " : and that complaints pour in from " several Bania and Moor inhabitants and merchants 
of this island, that have sustained great losses by three Arab ships belonging to Cong. " If the 
pirates were but Arabs or Malabars, matters had not been so bad : but European pirates were 
abroad, indulging in unheard-of excesses, seizing Moghal pilgrim ships (the Gunsway or Gania- 
sawai), and leading to the incarceration of our President and servants at Sarat. " We have 
so often wrote your Honours concerning out great want of supplies of men, that it is needless 
for us to mention more about it." So writes Sir John Gayer in 1698, and continues :— '= We 
cannot forbear without unfaithfulness to our trust to acquaint you that your island is exposed 
to extreme hazard, should any orders arrive from the Moghal Court to the Sidi to invade Bombay, 
on account of frequent robberies committed by the pirates, which, as we have often advised are 
universally charged on the English nation." Unhappy Island 1 The hostility of Shivaji, the 
enmity of the Moghal alone were wanting to complete its solitariness and dejection. '* About 
two days' journey up the hill," says our Deputy Governor in 1677, "between the Moghal's and 
Shivaji's dominions lies a perpetual seat of war. No merchants can pass without apparent 
hazard of being plundered, so that we cannot expect merchants should land their goods here 
without knowing where or how to dispose of them." By 168] Shivaji and his rival were in 
possession of Henery and Kenery, whereby " the administration of the island of Bombay has been 
the most difiBcult as well as the most embarrassing part of our duty"; Sambhaji's " twelve armed 
galivats " interrupted our trade ; the presence of the Moghal fleet exposed the garrison to 


attack. Our only, chance was to temporise witji both; to ask permission of Sambhaji to 
re-»establi8h the Factory at Eajapur; to appease the. Moghal by presents to the Governor of 
Surat. "We shall not molest the Shivajjg if they do not molest us, keeping always cruisers 
out to oblige them to civility : " such was our policy towards the power, which if not engaged 
in open hostilities, such as the seizure of our boats in 170 L, at any rate disturbed the peace of 
our islaiud, by choosing it as the arena of his struggles with the Sidi. 

The letters and documents of this period portray in great measure the anxiety, which 
had laid hold upon the people. The outlook on all sides was unpromising. At home were 
pestilence a.nd private jealousy ; abroad, the Sidi, the Malabar, the Mahratta, the Moghal 
and the Portuguese. There were French alarms as well ; stories of " three French ships 
th^t lay at anchor oflF Old Woman's Island, weighed and betook themselves to a clean pair 
of heels " ; portents in the shape of a Danish fleet which, cruising too near the island, " hindered 
our trade and made our merchants fearful of going to sea," Such circumstances could have but 
one effect upon a population, whose main object in coming to the island had been to secure 
for themselves a peaceful livelihood and protection. The proud boast of the Company in 1668 
"that bv means of their island of Bombay they had brought thither the principal part of the 
tj'ade of Surat, where from 4,000 families, computed when the Company took possession of it, 
they are since increased to 50,000 families " (Milburn's Oriental Commerce), must have had 
a mournful significance for the men of 1718, who witnessed a population shrunk to the, lowest 
fiwnre ever reached under British rule. Their only consolation can have been that the 
diminution was inevitable, that their sore chastening was perchance necessary for their ultimate 

Before passing onto the succeeding period, it were well to notice certain scattered 
references to various communities, connected during these years with the island. We have seen 
how^ the Brahmins of Bandora fled from the intolerance of the Portuguese, and built themselves 
houses of refuge on these shores. The Moors (Mus^lmans) also dwelt in considerable numbers 
in the town. When our troubles with the Portuguese reached a climax in" 1676, John Petit 
'' went up to Mahim, taking with him a division of the Garrison Companies, the militia of 
Bombay with 100 Bhandaris, and about 100 Moors of the island, which, with the militia of 
Mahim, amounted to 500 men. " We hear of them again on the 23rd March 1687 ; how that 
" the Moors' Delvys have of late built one house on the island and are now very importunate 
with us to dig stones to build another." Though on the whole the Company looked with less 
favour on the Moors than on the trading community proper, they nevertheless showed them 
civility, by permitting them to travel on the Company's ships. " These are to enorder you to 
receive on board such Moormen with their necessaries as Girdhadas shall come with, who 
beinc on board wind and weather permitting, weigh the anchor and mftke the best of the way 
to the port of Chaul, where the said Moormen being landed, return with, all expedition to us." 
So runs a ' permit ' of 1694. And another of about the same date states that "These are to en- 
order vou to repair on board of the Right Honourable Company's sloop with your men 
and make the best of your way with Habshi Hakim, a "Moorman, and his people for 
Underi ". We read of Fakirs on board a country ship being allowed to come ashore 
■with five horses'; of '' Neury, Diodator and Yearmarnoed " Armenians all of them, being 
transported by the Company's vessels to Surat.. The ships' commanders, apparently, did not 
always treat such passengers equitably; for in 1704 the Court of Directors took notice 
of complaints against the , commanders for ill-usage of Armenians, and ordered their ex- 
tortions to cease. Of "Cofferies" or Zanzibar slaves mention is made in an order of the 
19th September 1701, forbidding them to leave the island by way of Mahim, Sion or 
Worli in consequence of the robbery of several Mahommedans' houses. It is noticeable that, 
notwithstanding the troubles of the period under review, the representatives of the Company 
never wholly lost sight of the need for attracting settlers by impartial and beneficent treatment 
of all men. Thus " when any Callimbines and Bunderines (Kunbis and Bhandaris) which live 
in the addas (Vadis) come to you for a chit to have the country music, you are to give them one 
without taking anything from them. " So runs an order to Ensign Shaw. Mr. Aislabie also was 


ordered in 1694 ^' to petrnjt the Moormen to come upon thi^ island to Worship at the tomb at 
Mahim as customary ; but let none come armed at any time but persons of some considerable 
quality." Even the Marathas were treated with civility, for an order of 1701" permits "fen of the 
Sbivajis belonging to their galivat to^ come on shore to 'dinner " ; and on various occasions peity 
benefits of ferry convoy and the like were granted to the Sidi's followers. Throughout the dark 
days of pestilence, and in spite of external agression and annoyance, the standard which Aungiei' 
had so firmly planted was kept ever in view. " We would, therefore,- have you keep the island 
always in a strong posture of defence and our soldiers strictly to their duty and in the constant 
exercise of their arms. You should set your wits effectually on work to create some considerable 
manufacture upon the island that may augment the number of the inhabitants whom we would 
have modelled into trained bands under English or other officers, as you shall see cause. " 
So counsels the Court. " Take special care, " they cry, " that all who pay the duties and 
deal fairly be encouraged to trade ; that none be suffered to engross all or any commodities 
imported, or to do anything else that may discourage merchants frequenting the port or the 
inhabitants that reside on the island." Advances were made to cultivators, notably "14 
mudas of batty to the Currambees of all the alldears (villages) of this island by the hand of Alvazo 
Mozello, " and " 4 mudils to the Kunbis, in part of the quantity usually advanced to them." 
Encouragement was given to silk-weavers "half a score of whom will come and inhabit 
here, if the Company build them houses. " " Let none have our work," write the Directors in 
1684, " but such only as will become inhabitants upon our island of "Bombay, and persuade 
all you can from the main to go over and settle at Bombay upon the terms of having constant 
work." Bight well were the orders carried out ; for in 1686 we learn that " Here is of late 
many silk-weavers and others come from Thana and Chaul, and if encouragement is given, they 
will daily come from other parts to us. The Portuguese merely tyrannise over those poor 
people and enact such great taies and .customs from them that they fly from the cities and 
principal places of trade." Nor was the Koli neglected, for an order of the 5th April 1715 
forbade anyone " to oppress the fishermen, by forcing them to sell fish to a particular person. 
Let the market be free to everybody. " Nothing indeed was left undone, which might 
counteract the baleful influence at work during the period ; and the fact that the popula- 
tion did not decrease more largely, must be ascribed to the untiring efforts of the Com?- 
pany to render the island habitable by both rich and poor. " Suffer poor people to come 
and inhabit on the island ; and call the militia to watch with you every night sparing the 
Padre of Parel's servants;" so writes Sir John Wyborne in 1686. Night paitrols for the 
protection of persons at Mahim, Worli, Sewri, and Sion ; the increase of the militia, "to a 
Kjomplete body of near 600 men, who are all possessors of land on the island " ; the addition 
" of a third standing company and two standing companies of Rashpouts (Rajputs) " ; the 
continual building of "bastions, which culminated in the completion of the , town wall on 
Christmas Day, 1718 ; orders to complete a dry dock and the improvement of " the wretched 
arrangements hitherto deemed sufficient for repairing ships " ; the provision of communication 
between Bombay, Mahim and Sion, by ferry-boats " rented for 103 Xeraphins and one laree 
per month " ; the despatch of twenty moneyers ' to the Bombay Mint; and the permission to 
all men, notably Parsis, Hindus, and Christians, to occupy what land they pleased, so that " by 
1707 the greater portion of the Fort was private property " ; all these various actions were 
dictated by the stern resolve to render Bombay, come what might, Wch and populous. A Post 
Office, a Cotton Press, as we learn from Maclean, were established during this period ; and 
lastly St. Thomas' Cathedral. Sir George Oxenden began to build a church in 1668, gathering 
subscriptions for that purpose ; but on his death, " piety grew sick and the bnilding of churches 
was grown unfashionable '' ; wherefore, the only place of prayer until 1718 was the Fort Chapel, 
consisting of two rooms in the Governor's House. But at length, , after embezzlement of 
building-funds by Sir John Child, " performance of public doVotions under look and key," and 
stirring exhortations by Mr. Cobbe to wipe away the reproabh of being godless in the sight of 
the heathen, we find " the Honourable Charles Boone, Esq. " giving orders " for the opening the 
Church of Bombay, " on the 25th December 1718. ''The church was dressed with palm 
branches and plantain trees, " so writes the chronicler ; " the pillars were adorned with wreaths? 


of greens, and the double crosses over the arches looked like so many stars in the firmament. 
Service began as usual on Christmas Day, but with this additional satisfaction, the making a new 
Christian the same day in the new Church, a good omen doubtless of a future increase. A whole 
orowd of black people stood round about, among them Ramaji and all his caste, who were so 
well pleased with the decency and regularity of the way of worship, that they stood it out 
the whole service. When the sermon from Isaiah JjVI. 7, was over, the Governor and Council 
and ladies repaired to the vestry, where having drunk success to the new Church in a glass of 
sack, the whole town returned to the Governor's lodgings within the Fort." The oldest relic 
of the early British period, yet in existence, is the ruined Court House ; next in point of age, 
if we exclude the remains of the fortifications, is the Cathedral. They seem to us to symbolise 
the two strongest bulwarks of our dominion in India, — Justice for all men, and the clemency 
that oometh of true Christianity. 

Here then we would take leave of a period, in which the moral and material progress, 
which should have crowned the eflSorts of our ancestors, was retarded and nullified by the 
presence of the foeman and of the "fell sergeant. Death. " Perchance the perusal of that 
troublous record may inspire even us, who are so differently circumstanced, with hopes for the 
future. The small town was sorely chastened in those early days ; but she rose triumphant in 
the years that followed, owing her success in no small degree to the politic and prudent actions, 
which had quietly taken place during the years of " Sturm und Drang." The city of our day 
likewise has been sore beset ; has watched her people die, and knows not when the ievil may be 
stayed. Can we not hope that improvements initiated in the day of sickness will hereafter 
assist her to rise, like the phoenix, more glorious from the ashes of the. dead past ? 


Period the Third.— 1718 to 1744. 

The period, with which we now have to deal, extends from the year 1718 till the year 
1744, and is characterised in the main by quiet and steady progress, and by the gradual resti- 
tution of the population, which the troubles of preceding years had driven from the Island. 
Niebuhr states that the population of Bombay in 1744 numbered 70,000, or ten thousand in 
excess of the number gained during the earliest years of British occupation. To what cause is 
the increase asoribable ? Our island was as exposed to external aggression as it had ever been : for 
the Portuguese, during the early portion of the period, followed their ancient policy of obstruc- 
tion ; the Sidi, albeit his dominion was moribund, could yet make his presence felt ; while 
Angria and the Maratha were in the very zenith of their power. The secret of our progress lies, 
we believe, in the fact of our being for the first time an united community ; the house was no 
longer divided against itself ; the dual control of affairs by Surat and Bombay Presidents had 
vanished ; internal feuds had been laid to rest ; unity of interests, unity of purpose had superven- 
ed. Released from the fetters of private dissension, our President, our Council and our 
Officers were free to formulate and cany out a careful line of policy towards the various powers, 
by whom the island was surrounded ; while the comparative tranquillity, induced by prudent 
dealings with external forces, afforded them the opportunity of further improving the internal 
condition of their charge. 

The keynote of the Company's policy during the period under review was the necessity 
for holding aloof from hostilities, until they should be prepared to stand alone ; to temporise, in 
fact, until the blighting effects of past years had been eradicated. Complete isolation was im- 
possible ; but, having decided which of their natural enemies were likelj- to prove the most 
troublesome, the representatives of the Company endeavoured to, as far as possible, keep on good 
terms with them ; and wherHver it became necessary to side with one party or the other, to o-iva 
such assistance to the weaker power, as would prevent their being too speedily overwhelmed^ 
Both in the matter of Angria and the Sidi, and in the matter of the Portuguese and the 
Maiathas, their policy was based upon the same considerations. That the power of the 
Sidi was waning, that Angria was an extremely dangerous neighbour, they fullj' comprehended • 
that the English were not yet strong enough to sweep the latter from their path, was also un- 
questionable. Time was essential for perfecting theii' own stability and resources ; and in the 
meanwhile, therefore, they determined, by supporting the former, to use him as a foil to the An- 
gria, until such time as they should be themselves ready to stand alone. Hence in 1724 the 
President reports " that Sidi Saufc of Anjanvel or Dabhol has at sundry time sent off to our vessels- 
provision and refreshment while cruizing off that port and been otherwise very courteous in his 
advices in relation to Angria ; in order to keep him in the like good disposition it is resolved to make^ 
him a present of three yards of scarlet cloth, a pair of pistols, and a gilt sword." As late as 1735 
indeed, by which date "there was no longer any prospect," as Mr. Cowan informed the Board "of 
the Sidi being ever again able to make any figure at sea, since the Marathas and Ano-ria are in 
possession of their whole fleet," the same line of action was adopted. " We are well convinced " 
argues the Board, " of the truth of what Sidi Saut sets forth in regard to their poverty and the 
danger of their country. We greatly apprehend that if we deny them our assistance at this time, 
they may be so fiir disgusted as to strike up a peace with the Shahu Raja, by submitting to his 
yoke. Thereby we should not only lose what they now owe us, but they would even become our 
enemies in conjunction with Shahu Raja and Angria. Should not this be the immediate con- 
sequence, we are certain they would proceed with their force to plunder the country borderino- 
on Pen river, which would entirely put a stop to the trade carried on thither by this island. On 
the other hand we have good reason to believe they will recover a large sum from the Surat 
Government, and that, upon their fleet appearing at the bar, our chief will be applied to for 
adjusting their demands, which will give us an opportunity of repaying ourselves as far as the 
circumstances of the Sidis will permit. For these reasons it is agreed to advance the Sid" 
Rs. 30,000." Fifty mudas of batty were also advanced to them in the same year, as " we would 
not willingly disgust them by a refusal at this time " ; while from 1736 to 1737* the policy of 
the Company led to the establishment at Sion Fort of a body of Sidi troops, designed to assist 


the garrison in repelling attack. While employing the Sidi as a foil, the Company forbore not 
to harass Angria, whenever a favourable opportunity was presented. At the outset of the period 
^he pirate carries off vessels belonging to " Mulla Muhammad Ali, the Great Surat merchant, 
commits his piracies on the seas without restraint and thereby disturbs and hinders trade. " 
Shaikh Islam Khan urges reprisals, saying " I will represent to the King the method that the 
said pirate may be totally ruined, and I hope in God it will be done in a few days." The upshot 
of the business was a secret war committee, and an expedition against the Angria, under the 
command of Mr. Walter Brown. On the 17th October 1720, "the Defiance, Elizabeth and a 
galivat from our fleet before Gh^ria " brought news that Mr. Brown had landed a detachment, 
slain a good number of the enemy, with very little loss on our side ; " has burnt some of the 
■enemy's shipping and utterly destroyed two of Angria's best grabs. " In 1724 there were nego- 
-tiations for the release of English prisoners ; in 1731 a fresh engagement between " the Bengal 
galley and Angria's grabs ;" in 1733, the year in which we undertook, at the instance of Teg 
Beg Khan, the duties of " Protectors of Trade," an expedition against Underi under Lieutenant 
finchbird, and an alliance with the seven principal Sidis of Rajpuri. From that date until the 
close of the period, the Sidi sinks into insignificance ; and the success of our policy depends as 
much upon fostering the strife which has arisen between the brothers, Sambhaji and Manaji 
Angria, as upon subsidising the Sidi. The Company still needed time, was not yet prepared to 
emerge as a political power, and abstained therefore from all but petty attacks. Aid to Manaji 
Angria against his brother, and a refusal to conclude peace with Sambhaji, for fear that " such a 
•concession would expose us to the contempt of all our neighbours," were followed by renewed 
hostilities with the twain, capture of grabs, confinement of their subehdars in irons, and confiscation 
of the batty aboard two boats captured by '' the Dolphin." In 1737 the Company blockaded 
the Angria's ports with "the Brittania, King George and Prince of Wales' galleys," but 
hesitated to make any attack by land. The President informed the Council that the land forces 
■of Bombay were of the following strength : — 

A. Military. 

Europeans (including Officers) .. 449 

Topassea 817 

Sepoys 943 

B. Marinebs. 

Europeans (including Officers) 299 

At Mokba .' 115 

Total ... 2,623 

^' Will it be prudent," he asks, " with the above force and the assistance of three Europe ships 
to undertake anything against the common enemy Angria by land ? " " The safety of the island 
•ought to be first considered, " replies the Council. " As we conld not expect to undertake any 
such expedition without the enemy gaining intelligence of our design, he would have time to 
make application to Shahu Raja, who can and in such cases would send a large number of men 
-to his assistance. " The greatest care was needed to prevent a declaration of war, ere we felt 
ourselves strong enough to support a contest, requiring a large expenditure of money and stores. 
Once again in 1739, we were tempted to hostilities in the matter of the island of Karanja. Sundry 
inhabitants thereof proposed to take possession of and hold the same for the Honourable Com- 
pany ; " the situation and conveniency of that island together with its surrender from the 
Portuguese to an enemy " Appeared to demand our compliance with their suggestion. But 
prudence once more prevailed ; our position was not yet suflSciently assured. "It would 
require the raising at least twelve or fifteen hundred men," argued the Council ," to dislodge 
-the troops now on Karanja with Manaji in person. And though it is probable, unless opposed 
by the Maratbas, we might carry the attack through with success, yet as a sufficient forcp could 
not be got together without disarming our passes, and that the President has certain intelligence 
of a large number of Marathas assembled at Marol, apparently with no good intention, such a 
step might and probably would be attended with bad consequences to our island, as it is reason- 
able to expect the Marathas would attack our passes when they found them unguarded. Nor 
would our seizure or taking of Karanja be attended with any secure maintenance. For so long 



as the Marathas continue in the neighbourhood, the charges must exceed the revenue which we 
are sure our Honourable Masters would be little inclined to support. The fort itself at Karanja 
is in its present condition entirely untenable, being a large ruinous fortification commanded by a 
neighbouring eminence. A new fort would be necessary for the preservation of the place, and 
tlie Marathas would not fail of attacking it, as they consider Karanja part of the Portuguese 
(lomaiu, and even now avow that Manaji Angria has taken possession of it for them. In whichi 
case it would require at least 1,200 men with competent ammunition and stores to garrison it with 
any hopes of holding out. Especially since the Agris or salt labourers, who made a body from 
. seven to eight hundred men well armed, and chiefly depended upon for the defence of the place,, 
are gone over to the enemy and were indeed the means of his introduction. All which considered, 

■ though we cannot but be sensible of the great inconvenience to Bombay of this new neighbour, 
it is agreed that we forbear any attempt of this sort that may either endanger the safety 
of our own island or involve us in increased charges." Up to the end of the period the 
Company's object remained unaltered. In 1739 they were again assisting Manaji against 

■ his brother; in 1740 they were forced to break with him, but obtained a respite from hosti- 
lities, by inducing the Marathas to check the depredations of their piratical allies. 

The same cautious policy of establishing firmly our own position, before attempting any 
forward movement, marked our dealings with the Portuguese and the Marathas. At the opening 
of the period, the old sentiments of enmity betwixt English and " Portugal " were still rife, and 
found vent in various annoying actions and counter actions. On the 15th May 1720, we read of 
Portuguese priests and bishops, suspected of complicity with Rama Kamathi in his treasonable 
dealings with the Marathas, being ordered to quit the island within twenty-four hours ; to 
which the Portuguese respond by " stopping several of our patamars," beating and ill-using our 
workmen, and by seizing letters intended for Madras. On the 5th July, in the same year, the 
President issued a proclamation, " requiring all persons who live in other parts to repair hither 
with their arms in the term of twenty-one days, on pain of having their estates confiscated to the 
Right Honourable Company " : — a proceeding which so greatly annoyed our rivals, many of whom 
owned properties on the island, that they got a gibbet erected at Pandora, and " hoisted up 
and let down again three times D'Chaves and another man, both inhabitants of this island, 
who were sent hence to give Fernando d'Silvera notice of the proclamation." The estates were 
nevertheless confiscated; and to obviate a recrudescence of the trouble, it was unanimously 
resolved that " as the practice of Portuguese and other foreigners making land purchases on 
this island has been prejudicial to the Government, no person, who is not an inhabitant on this 
island, shall for the future purchase any estates." 

By the year 1735, however, the forward march of the Maratha had effected a change in 
our mutual relations. To both the Portuguese and the English the presence of these people was 
synonymous with peril ; and when the invasion of Salsette commenced in 1735, the vital question 
for the Company's decision was whether they should stand shoulder to shoulder with their 
ancient enemy and endeavour to stay the onslaught of the invader, or leave the Portuguese domi- 
nion to its inevitable fate. Thus on the 27th April 1737 we read of the President recommending 
to the Board " to take into consideration what part it will be proper for us to act in the present 
juncture, though it will not be prudent to come to a final resolution till we know for certain 
what force the Portuguese can raise. An idle proposal has been made for permittino- the 
Marathas to conquer Salsette and privately treat with them for delivering it to us. Be- 
sides the perfidy of such an action in regard to the Portuguese, and the mischief it mio-ht 
bring upon our Honourable Masters from that nation, so many objections and diflficulties occur 
against so treacherous a scheme that we can by no means think of undertaking it, were we even 
secure of the event. " The Board after deep cogitation comes to an unanimous decision that " If 
our force, joined with the Portuguese, judged capable of withstanding the Marathas 
or sufificient to regain the Island of Salsette, our coming to hostilities with the Marathas would 
be more eligible than our continuing in our present state. Because, if the Marathas wore 
removed from Salsette, we should be under no apprehension of danger from them, nor be obliged 
to continue the great additional expense we are now at, to secure overselves against them, while 


they remain on that island. Still when -we consider the great number of men the Ma- 
rathaB can at any time bring into the field, they appear too powerful for the Portuguese 
and our united force to stand against, and (according to information we have received) 
they are too well secured in Thana for us to hope to expel them. Therefore seeing that as 
we might draw great inconveniences upon ourselves, besides a heavy expense, by declaring 
against them, it is resolved not to do it unless a very favourable op[)ortimity offers of 
effecting something considerable against them." For the present, therefore, it was decided 
to hold aloof from the struggle, and to content ourselves with despatching '* I?amji Parbhu, 
a person of capacity and experience," to discover what were Ohimnaji's exact intentions. Closer 
and closer press the invaders round the Portuguese ; and once again the General of the North 
" entreats our succours for the expulsion of our enemies, the Marathas, from the island of 
Salsette " ; sends his request by the hand of Padre Manoel Rodrigo d'Estrado, who being called 
before the Council, " uses many arguments to induce us to join with thp Portuguese in this 
undertaking ; that there would be little doubt of success with our united force ; how great credit 
Qur nation would gain thereby and the returns of service we might on any occasion so justly 
claim from the Portuguese. " The arguments of the Padre are in truth specious, might haply 
command success if addressed to Councillors endowed with less subtlety and foresight. But the 
Englishmen of that day walked circumspectly, knowing that their instruction in political matters 
was but just begun. " The strict alliance," they wrote, " between our respective sovereigns in 
Europe, and the natural interest of this island render us heartily inclined to assist the Portuguese 
for regaining their territories. Still we cannot help remarking that their affairs in India are 
in a very declining, if not desperate and irretrievable condition. The President assures the 
Board that from the letters he has received from the Viceroy, and the late and present Generals 
of the North, as well as from the frequent discourse he has held with many of the gentlemen and 
Padres of that nation, it seems as if they themselves had little hopes of doing anything but 
depend upon us to fight their battles. We are, therefore, very apprehensive that, if we were 
once engaged in the war, they would afterwards take very little upon themselves but saddle us 
with the burthen of the whole charge and trouble. If we declare openly against the Marathas, 
the trade of this island would be entirely stopped aud-our Honourable Masters be great sufferers 
in the loss of the Customs, and would be driven to great strait for provisions for our inhabitants, 
and other stores and necessaries greatly wanted for the service of the island and which are 
furnished from the Maratha's country. Another objection that occurs against joining with the 
Portuguese on the present occasion is that some years ago when we acted in conjunction against 
Kanhoji Angria, though our force was four times greater than what we can now raise and 
strengthened with the assistance of the squadron of men-of-war under the command of Com- 
modore Mathews, we were not able to effect anything, and therefore we cannot hope for better 
success at present. The foregoing reasons and objections being duly weighed in, the Board 
is unanimous in opinion that we cannot join with the Portuguese in the present undertaking 
with any hopes of success against the enemy, but that we should involve ourselves in number- 
less difficulties and bring on an excessive expense. It is, therefore, unanimously agreed to 
decline it and the President is desired to write a letter in answer to the General of the North 
drawn from the substance of the foregoing resolutions." 

The Btorm-cloiid gathered dark over Bassein in 1738 ; the Portuguese knew their weak- 
ness, knew that it must burst ere long and wreak their ruin ; could only appeal vainly to the 
English Governor for assistance. " I dare not," writes the Governor in a letter to Pedro 
D'Mello, •■' hazard to increase our charges by a rash and abrupt declaration of war against these 
people, not only without the orders of my superiors, but without a force to support it and carry 
it through with dignity and reputation." So matters remain ; the cloud lowers darker ; one last 
despairing appeal comes from Goa for money and munitions of war, to which we respond " by 
venturing a loan even at the hazard of our own private fortunes, in case of the same being dis- 
avowed by our employers " ; and then — the cloud bursts, Bassein capitulates, a once powerful 
community bids adieu for ever to dominion in the North Konkan and sails dejected from its 
capital in vessels provided by a former rival ! 


But what shall our Council do under these circumstances ? We are at last face to face with 
-the Maratha ; his outposts are in dangerous propinquity to onr boundary-hamlet. Should we 
fight or temporise ? Prudence once more declares for the latter course ; for we are not yet ready 
to meet the foe on equal terms. Consequently we read that on May 15th, 1739, the Board 
decided that " as Bassein is reduced, it will be highly proper to send a letter of compliment to 
•Chimnaji Appa with a small present in the Eastern manner, to consist of six yards of red velvet, 
six yards of green, and six yards of cloth. This present Bhiku Sinay (Shenvi) is pitched upon to 
carry, a person the best qua-lified we can find for such an employ, as the same may be an opening 
or introduction to a further knowledge and insight into Chimnaji's movements." The transfer 
•of Chaul to the Marathas in 1 740, might well have given rise to ill-feeling between those people 
and ourselves ; but so certain was the Council of the wisdom of its policy, that they even appoint- 
ed one of their own oflBcers, Captain James Inchbird, to act as mediator between the Portuguese 
and Chimnaji. " The protection of our trade is all that arms us or make us desirous even of 
holding Bombay, without extending our dominion or gaining ports or settlements that might give 
them a jealousy, since they cannot but confess that we had a fair opportunity of getting Chaul 
for ourselves, had not those maxims we profess been against it," Such are the concluding words 
of the orders to Captain Inchbird ; and during the remainder of the period, the views expressed 
in those orders were rigidly adhered to. There are letters extant from Shahu Raja to the Bom- 
bay Government, which breathe a spirit of friendliness ; answers thereto from Bombay, begging 
the serene Maharaja's acceptance of " a statue of a cow and calf ; also a clock with chimes and 
several moving figures." The greatest care was observed in dealing with a power, whose good 
faith was in the highest degree questionable. " As we have it not in our power," says the Presi- 
dent, " to oppose them by force, it is indispensably necessary to proceed with the utmost caution, 
and as far as possible prevent the evil designs which sooner or later they may attempt 
to put more effectually in execution. " A letter from the Directors, dated the 13th March 
1743, show how far successful was this policy, the object whereof was to gain time, untU 
our community was strong enough to march forth and conquer. " We take notice with 
satisfaction," so runs the letter, " that you continue on good terms with the Marathas upon 
Salsette, there being no manner of complaints in the advices before us of their conduct. 
We persuade ourselves that by a prudent management and behaviour, they will bo very 
good neighbours, and for the welfare of the island we would have you cultivate a lasting 
friendship with them, being at the same time duly upon your guard against all treachery 
and deceit." 

These twenty-six years, therefore, witnessed a radical alteration in the relations existing 
between our island and surrounding principalities. The Sidi, as a sea-power, disappeared ; 
the Portuguese lost the land-rule which their strong men had built up more than a century 
before ; both nations yielded place to younger and more vigorous peoples, in dealing with whom 
our rulers in this island received their first instructions in the art of Western Indian politics. 
Ostensibly we were still no more than merchants, actuated solely by the desire for peaceful 
commerce ; and our Presidents yet affected to set more store by "dutties," " tapseils," " guinea- 
stuffs," '' chintzes with large nosegays and bunches of flowers," than by Sidi alliances and the 
course of political affairs in the Deccan. But slowly and surely we were exchanging the role 
of a purely mercantile community for that of a great political power • and the years which 
elapsed between 1718 and 1744 were pregnant with events, testifying to the alteration of our 
<jharaoter. As yet, it is true, we were but learning our part ; were waiting, watching and per- 
fecting our knowledge • but some god-given instinct was with us, as we directed the affairs 
of the warehouse, and guided our faltering steps along the path to conquest and omnipotence. 
It prompted, as we have seen, our action in dealing with Chimnaji Appa and his fighting hordes ; 
it prompted us to make a friend of. Bajlrao. " The watch that came out in the Queen Caroline 
packet for Bajirao having been sent to his son, aad the receipt thereof acknowledged with a 
complaisant answer for the favour, the Board think it will be best to omit charging Bajirao 
anything for the mending, but make him a compliment thereof in regard to the friendship which 
exists between our governments." So runs the record of November 7th, 1741 ; and in the 


year following, on the occasion of the marriage of one of Bajirao's sons, one learns that " a 
present was unavoidable, and it is, therefore, agreed that the following articles be sent by^a 
special messenger : — 

6 Shawls of Es. 20 each 120 

1 Gold chain 105 

1 Sari or covering for a woman 40 

Pu talis or gold coins ,.; ... 75 

Charges for the person sent 50 

Total Rs. ... 390" 

The strengthening of our possessions was not the least important of the actions undertaken 
during these years, and resulted naturally from the transformation, which we, as a community, 
were being forced to undergo. Thus, there are constant references to the strength of the 
garrison, to the necessity for maintaining so many European and Topass Companies in spite of an 
impoverished exchequer ; "for we have judged it highly proper," writes the Court, "to put our 
military and artillery upon a new footing " • "a reasonably commodious lodgment or cazem " 
is built for the troops at Sion ; strict orders are issued in regard ,'to " the present pernicious 
license given to the inhabitants of dealing in the several ammunitions of war " ; while pecuniary 
indufcement is offered to the Topasses to live within the walls, in order that they may be more 
readily martialled in an emergency. The Fort also is strengthened, after tours of inspection by 
the President and military officers. " As we cannot be certain," say the Council, " that the enemy 
will not force a passage upon the island and attack the town, its safety ought to be provided for 
by cutting down all trees within point blank shot, that is, within 120 yards of the wall, and 
thinning them for such further distance as shall be found necessary. A survey made by the 
fazendars and the landholders and elders shows that about 3,200 trees may be cut down." In 
1739 there is a movement afoot " for the carrying of a ditch round the town wall " ; the principal 
merchants of the place subscribe thirty thousand rupees towards the cost of the business ; for 
" our inhabitants are grown so apprehensive of the insecure posture of the place against the power 
of our encroaching neighbours." By 1743, the Ditch is completed at a cost of Rs. 2,50,000 ; and 
the eight bastions of the Fort are in charge of sixty-one European gentlemen, responsible for the 
safety thereof. Further evidence of our preparations is afforded by the construction of a powder 
mUl on Old Woman's Island. " Such a mill, " write the Board, " is greatly wanted on this 
island, partly through a deiieiency of working people, partly because they are unwilling to be 
employed in such service." As a matter of fact, this powder-house was never utilised • for an im- 
proved mill was shortly afterwards erected on a spot close to the site of the present Secretariat. 

Not only in respect of land-forces was this restless activity apparent. The Dockyard was 
extended • the marine was established. Read the words of the Council in 1733 :— " It is ob- 
served our marine charges of late years have been very great, and are likely to increase by the 
additional strength the two sons of Angria have acquired by their conquest of the Sidis' country. 
With the Sidis' fleet of grabs and galivats in their possession, the Angrias are become too formid- 
able to be kept in awe with the small sea-force we have at present in our service." Hence comes 
it that the marine paymaster was directed to treat with the proprietors for the Rose galley, " a 
vessel very fit for our purpose, being strong and well built, a prime sailer, and three years old " ; 
that the " Fort St. George, the Bombay, and the Britannia " were condemned in 1736, and 
new grabs and country vessels constructed in their stead ; that continual additions were made to 
the fleet until the year 1742 • and finally that Lowji Nassarwanji, the Wadia or Shipbuilder, of 
-whom we shall speak again, was brought down from Surat to superintend the construction of 
new vessels. 

The instinct, which led the Company to built fleets and fortifications, obliged them also 
to the stem repression of treachery within their own ranks. In the early portion of the period, 
the public mind was much exercised by the tale of Rama Kamathi's treachery ; in 1743 the 
President proposed to deport certain Topasses from Sion, who had acted mutinously. The old 
da V3 of Keigwin revolts and the like had passed away; the island was to become powerfnl y 



domestic intrigue could not be permitted to jeopardise its future well-being. This trial 0^ 
the Shenvi, Rama Kamathi, for treasonable dealings with the Angria, was in truth a very 
sorry business. The Governor and his Council seem never to have doubted the man's guilt. 
]3efore them lay that damning letter of October 12th, 1718, which we here reproduce 
in part:— "To the opulent, magnificent as the sun, valorous and victorious, always cour- 
ageous, the liberal, prudent, and pillar of fortitude, the essence of understanding, the pro- 
tector of Brahmins, defender of the faith, prosperous in all things, honoured of kings above 
all councillors, Senhor Karhoji Augria Sarqueel — Ramaji Kamathi, your servant, writes with 
all veneration and readiness for your service, and with your favour I remain as always. Our 
general here has resolved in Council to attack and take the fort of Oundry, and thus it is 
agreed to environ the said fort on the 17th October, and the armada powder and ball and all other 
necessaries for war are ready. I, therefore, write your honour that you may have the said fort 
well furnished." Beside that letter, the wretched Rama's protestations of innocence seemed 
utterly worthless ; were in the eyes of Government proved to be false by the confession of 
Govindji, lately his clerk, " who was subjected to the barbarous practice of screwing irons on 
his thumbs, until under the smart of them the truth was squeezed out of him." Perpetual im- 
pnsonment in the '' Trunk " (Portuguese, Trouco-Jail), and confiscation of property worth 
some forty thousand rupees was the punishment meted out to the Shenvi, to whom as a conjrade 
in misfortune came soon afterwards, one Dalba Bhandari, likewise guilty of high crimes and 
misdemeanours. We can never forgive Mr. Boone for countenancing the torture of the ill- 
starred Govind. The memory of what he eff'ected towards ameliorating the helpless condition 
of our island is completely overihadowed by regret for this act of inhumanity ; regret which is 
heightened by the knowledge now vouchsafed to us, that Rama Kamatlii was guiltless, that the 
incriminating letters were the merest forgeries ! 

Now the politic behaviour of the Company towards those in whose power it lay to 
blocliade and impoverish the island, afforded leisure for the progress of internal administration, 
and thereby led to the immigration of people from the mainland. We read of justice being ad- 
vanced by the creation, in 1728, of a Mayor's Court, declared to be a Court of Record and em- 
powered to hear civil cases of all kinds, subject to an appeal to the Governor and Council ; bv 
the constitution, in 1727, of the Governor and Council as a Court of Oyer and Terminer and Goal 
Delivery, whereby the community might be purged of felons and burglars such as Joseph 
Coutioho and Badhou, whereby also " the horrid crime of murder may be better prevented." 
The island for the purposes of criminal justice was considered to be a county ; and Dono-ri Fort 
after sundry repairs and alterations, was constituted the county-gaol. Trade was encourao-ed 
by the establishment of a Bank in 1720 ; the President proposing that " Messrs. Brown and 
Phillips be appointed for his assistance in that affair, as the setting a bank on this island will 
indisputably be for the mutual benefit and advantage both of the Right Honourable Company 
and the inhabitants, by the increase of the trade and revenues thereof." Hence comes it that we 
read of " 12 Fazendars of Mahim representing that they have borrowed money of the Bank to the 
amount of Rs. 6,250, for security of which their estates are mortgaged, and that they have re- 
gularly paid interest for the same every six months and are ready to do so in future • but that the 
assistant to the managers of the Bank having demanded the principal as well as the interest, they 
are not able at present to comply therewith, and therefore request the space of four months to 
pay it in." The Council responds by allowing them three months to clear their respective debts 
considering that " all trade is entirely stagnated during the rains and that there is a scarcity of 
money at this time upon the island." One can well imagine how great an inducement to immi- 
gration and settlement anch a Bank would prove. Lnter on, we meet with evidence of trade with 
China ; a letter from the Court in 173S stated that " with a view to encourage our servants ut 
Bombay and the subordinate factories to carry on the China trade in a defensible Europe ship we 
shall in future send out yearly to Bombay, on or before the 20th May, a ship which may arrive at 
Anjengo or Tellicherry in December following. After delivering her outward cargo at Bombay 
and doing other service, she must about the end of March be laid in at Surat or Bombay for a 
voyage to China and back to Bonbay." The expansion of Bombay commerce was soufrht by 


all means possible, oven at the expense of our other ports in Western India. " In case you 
have reason to appjehend," write the Directors in 1743, " that any species of goods will, at some 
periods, sell better at Surat than Bombay, we would have them disposed of accordingly, al- 
though in general we choose that the sales should be madfi on the island in order to render it 
the grand mart on your side of India." 

But not only by the maintenanoe of law and order, and by the facilities granted to 
traders, was an increase of population assured. Reclamation of land was taken in hand, of land 
which had indirectly caused the death of many an inhabitant in years past. The memory of that 
^read time, when the aged and the young alike succumbed to the pestilence of the climate, bad not 
yet departed ; and hope of immigration could scarcely be entertained, unless and until the laud was 
rendered habitable. So we read of " salt groimd, recovered by the causeway built from Sion to 
Mahim " being let to cultivators on a seven years' lease ; of proposals by Captain Bates and Captain 
Johnson for " stopping the Great or Mahalakshmi Love Grove Breach ; " of how Captain Bates' 
scheme was approved and measures were taken to fill the Breach as soon as possible. The work was 
oarried on until 1727, when the Directors ordered that all further outlay should cease ; after which 
date " such an expense was continued as seemed necessary for the preservation of the dam until 
the work was secured." But the ocean was thereby robbed of much that was once his portion ; 
new lands lay ready for cultivation, out of which we note in particular " 1,440 square yards, let to 
ihe Kunbis at 4 res each, that is, Rs. 14-1-60 per annum." This process of reclamation, albeit it 
was but in its infancy during the period we are now reviewing, has contributed in a very marked 
degree to the growth of the island's population. So long as the inroad of the sea was unchecked, 
so long was unhealthiuess prevalent ; so long as native craft could float over the site of our modern 
district of Kamathipura, the expansion of our numbers was a practical impossibility. By the 
year 1730 our population began to outgrow the limits of the Fort, and cast about for fresh sites 
within easy distance of the wharf and warehouses ; and then indeed, the value of breach-stopping 
a,nd reclamation was fully realized. In minor matters, such for example as the supervision 
of tho market and the regulation of prices, the convenience of the people was carefully 
studied. "The Moodys used many arguments, " we are told, "against any reduction 
of the prices stipulated in their former agreement." But the Council was obdurate, referred 
" to the present course of the markets at this place, as also to the last received price-current 
from Surat," and let it be clearly understood that the people were not to be starved out of the 
Island for tho private benefit of a few victuallers. Facilities for journeying to and from the 
island, which fear of invasion had obliged the Council in earlier years to do away with, were 
re-established : for, when Lakshman Pant requested the resettlement of the Mahim and 
Salsette ferry boat in 1739, the Council, after full consideration of the island's circumstances, 
decided that " the passage be again opened and freedom given for all unsuspected persons 
to have free egress and regress to our island." That the tide of population was setting 
towards the island in these years is apparent from the concluding portion of the same 
resolution. "As regards Lakshmanji's further request," so the record runs, "that leave be 
o-iven for the return of such persons as have forsaken Salsette and are at present on our 
island as this point is strongly insisted upon the part of the Marathas, and as a refusal 
may bo attended with great disgust ; it is agreed that free liberty be given to such as have a 
mind to return under the Maratha Government. " These few examples will, perhaps, snfEae as 
proof of the encouragement granted to immigration by the domestic policy of the Government. 

The " Oorumbees " or Kunbis are met with during the period; appear to be dissatisfied 
with the terms of the Royal Charter, and " will not manure the batty grounds upon the ancient 
established terms." "Excite these useful men, " is the Court's advice, " to continue among 
you by good usage ; grant them relief, if, on serious consideration, you are persuaded that the 
prohibiting of kut or fish manure has sensibly lessened the produce of the lands. " To the 
Kunbis " who make salt in the several villages ", also, consideration is shown by the loan of 
*' 200 bags of Bengal rice at Bs. 6i per bag, the patels and mukadums signing a bond 
for the amount" ; while in 1735, a year of great scarcity, the Kunbis of Parel, Bombay, and 
Mahim were allowed " an abatement of the toka (assessment), to the amoimt of mudSs 44-18-8^." 


A consultation of May 7th, 1736, records the loan of Es. 200 to the Mukadam or head of 
some new Bhandari's come from the other side to settle in Bombay, to provide thom with houseS' 
and other conveniences ; and iu 1740 members of the same community, resident in Chaul, 
forwarded to Bombay a lengthy petition, stating that Manaji Angria had burnt their houses 
and cut down their trees, that, the Portuguese being no longer strong enough to protect them^ 
they were desirous of placing themselves under the protection of some other Government, and 
promising, that if Bombay would provide them with a home, they would be " with all fidelity 
good subjects to this Government. " " Let them come, " replied the Council, " for they are a 
useful body of people fit for action and always esteemed faithful to the Government "they live 
under ; and let the President admit them on such terms of entertainment as he shall please ta 
adjust with them for the good of the service." Nor were the weavers forgotten. In 1735 the 
Company's officers at Surat were directed to persuade " sundry weavers who have deserted from 
Ahmedabad, Dolka and other parts," to come to Bombay, and to promise them, in the event 
of their agreement, " all fitting encouragement and employment." We also assisted the 
community with loans — Es. 4,000 in 1735, '' to enable them to carry on the investment of 
Bombay stuffs, "Rs. 5,000 in 1739 to their mukadam, Janoji, for the same purpose ; and 
Es. 2j000, on the security of the LIukadam and Eupjl Dhanji, in the year 1740, to enable them 
to rebuild their houses, recently destroyed by fire. In 1736, under the auspices of one Bamanji 
Patel, " who came down hither from Surat with Mr. Braddyll," forty or fifty families of weavers 
immigrated to the island, and were provided with '' small habitations, rent free for two years."' 
Towards the Kolis the same philanthropic attitude was adopted ; for when they complained of 
being forced to act as palanquin-coolies, to the detriment of their ancient and time-honoured 
duties as fishermen and agriculturists, the Council restricted the number of those entitled to such 
service, and further granted " to all licensed palanquin Kolis half a rupee advance on their present 
wages": and in 1741, on a representation made by Mr. Charles Crommelin, Collector 
of the Revenues, a sum of Rs. 100 was advanced to help towards the repair of their, fishing 
craft. No community can be said to have lacked encouragement. To the Banias were presented 
in 1724 "four horses, altogether unserviceable, and if offered to sale, not likely to fetch anything", 
but rendered more acceptable by " their being dressed, on the suggestion of the President, with 
a yard and-a-half of red cloth." To us, such a donation may appear of little value ; but the- 
quartette of spavined steeds doubtless served its purpose, by keeping us on good terms with those 
who knew how to augment our trade. To Laldas Vithaldas, the Company's broker at Surat^ 
the Council turned not a deaf ear, when he sought " to build a commodious house on Bombay 
Island " merely stipulating that he should send one of his family to reside here, in order that 
" other merchants of substance may be encouraged to follow his example." Then tliere were the 
" Vanjaras or heads of caravans," who were much inconvenienced by an order of 1742, forbidding 
strangers to lodge within the town. "These Vanjaras," wrote the Council, "are inhabitants of 
the Ghat country, who, in the fair season, resort hither bringing considerable sums of money, 
with which they purchase large quantities of goods, and then return up-country. As the trade^ 
carried on by these Vanjaras is beneficial to the island, we should be loth to give them any dis- 
gust. We therefore resolve that any Vanjaras, who come directly to the house of any merchant 
or broker, may be permitted to remain, provided the person to whose house they resort make a- 
report thereof immediately to the Governor and be answerable for their behaviour during their 
continuance on the island." The adoption of handicrafts and trades was favourably regarded ; and. 
wherever there was scarcity of any class of artisan, measures were at once taken to supply the 
deficiency. Ten goldsmiths were sent hither from Surat in 1719 ; twenty-five smiths in 1741 
" to whom we may promise Bs. 4. for every cwt. of iron thoy may work up and their provisions " 
while the children of the inhabitants of Mazagon were apprenticed " to the several trades of 
carpenters, caulkers and sawyers, so as to complete and keep up the number of carpenters now 
on the island to twenty, caulkers to thirty and sawyers to thirty." The influx of the wealthier 
communities resulted in the presence of large numbers of slaves, chiefly from Madagascar, whom 
the Company either shipped to St. Helena or enlisted as soldiers ; as for example, in 1741, when 
" 14 men, 2 boys and 3 women are received from our Honourable Masters' ship Onslow." 
The Council considering how to employ these individuals to their Honourable Masters'^ 



advantage, oannot help remarking "that from the experience of those already here they 
are but of little service, and the maintenance of them far exceeds the expense of pay to ■ 
the other common labourers. Whether from the change of climate or what other cause we 
cannot say, the Madagascar slaves do no't appear of a constitution robust enough to bear 
any laborious work adequate to the charge incurred. We are of opinion the only method will 
be to, employ them in the military." So the Paymaster is directed to furnish the fourteen 
with accoutrements, the ofiBcers being enjoined to render them expert in the use of fire-arms. 
That the import of these people was not always a source of unmixed joy to our Governor 
and Council is further proved by a proclamation of the 3rd June 1741, wherein it is laid down 
that " the custom which hitherto prevailed on this Island of persons buying and selling slaves 
from or to whomsoever without any regard to the caste or religion of the persons so purchasing 
or selling, has been attended with great inconveniences and frequently occasions disputes and 
troubles to the Government of this , island. " The President and Governor "by and with 
t&e advice of his Council, therefore, orders that from and after publication of the proclamation, 
no slave either mdle or female shall be bought or sold to any person but such who are of the 
same caste and religion both with respect to the seller and purchaser." 

Of individuals, who resided or journeyed hither during this period, we note in particular 
Rnstom Dorabji and Lowji Nassarwanjl Wadia. The former had been connected with the island ' 
since the year 1692, when he assisted with a body of Kolis to repel the invasion of the Sidi. 
For, this good work he was appointed by Government Patel of Bombay, and a sanad was issued 
conferring the title upon him and his heirs for ever. At the time of which we write, he was 
living quietly in the island, honoured alike by Government and by the Kolis, whose domestic 
disputes he was empowered to settle. In later years his son Gowasji built the tank, which bears 
his name, and has given its title to the " Cowasji Patel Tank Road " of our modern 0. Ward. 

The history of Lowji may be said to be in some measure the history of the Bombay 
Dockyard. The Company, as we have already shown, had been obliged to have ships built 
for many years, in order' to defend their coast against the pirates ; but up to the year 1735 
these had been constructed generally in Surat. In that year, the Company's agent, who had 
been despatched to Surat in connection with the building of a new ship, became acquainted . 
with Lowji, and persuaded him to migrate to Bombay. Lowji came with his artificers, and 
having selected for the Docks part of the ground upon which they now stand, set to, work to 
perfect our marine. In 1736 we hear of his being commissioned to buy timber from the forests 
inland, there being great scarcity of material in Bombay. In 1737 he brought his family; 
here ; and from that day forth for several generations Lowji and his descendants were the 
master-builders of the Dockyard. His great-great-grandson was at work there in the year 
1810. Besides these twain there were ■ other Parsis of whom history makes no special 

mention Homji Byramji of the Dadysett family, Banaji Limji from Bhagwa Dandi near Surat, 

J«ssaji Jivanji, a supervisor on the Town Ditch work ; Muncharji Jivanji, ancestor of Sir 
OowBSJi Jehangir, who came from Nowsari in 1728 to engage in the China trade ; Cooverji 
of the Kama family, a fellow-immigrant with Lowji in 1735 • and Manekji Sett who built 
an Agiari at Bazaar Gate Street in 1734. The last-named was the owner of Nowroji Hill, 
once part and parcel of the Mazagon Manor, now the chief land-mark of the Dongri 
Section. Other communities sent hither " Shenvi Bapu, " the shroflF ; Madhavji Tankoji, 
Sonar, the money-lender ; " Sahanoba Vithoji " and " Pntalaji Parbhu, " men of commerce ; 
as also : *' Sadashiv Mangesh " and " Shenvi Pandurang Shivaji. " " Krishna Joshi," the 
astrologer, from Kelva-Mahim ; Rupji Dhanji and Rhet Ramdass from Kathiawar ; Dhakji, the 
Parbhu from Thana ; Sakhidas Nagardas Shah from Ahmedabad ; Pitambar Ghaturbhuj Parekh 
and Vrijbhucandaa Tapidas from Surat, and Babulshet Ganbasheth, ancestor of Mr. Jagannath 
Shankarshet, from Ghodbandaiv— all these were attracted to the island in these years by the 
liberal policy of the Company's Government, and were in many cases the founders of rich 
and respected families. One wonders whether the tide of immigration bore hither any members 
of the Beni-Israel community. It is not unlikely :— for ever since the dark days of the thirteenth 
century when their ancestors were shipwrecked near Chanl, they had gradually increased in 



numbers and spread themselves among the villages, and particularly among the coast hamlets of 
the Konkan. Unimpeachable authority declares that they commenced to settle in Bombay, after 
the island had passed over to the English ; and inasmuch as the community consisted for the 
most part of artisans, masons and carpenters — classes which were much in request during these 
years — it is quite probable that some of the more adventurous spirits may have voyaged hither 
from the mainland by the year 1744, and formed the nucleus of that most respectable com- 
munity, which now dwells in Israel Moholla and neighbouring localities. 

Enough, perhaps, has been said to show that our population largely increased in this 
period, that Niebuhr's estimate of 70,000 was justified ; but if any final evidence be needed that this 
result was attained, by the careful policy of the Company in both external and internal matters, 
we would ask the reader to peruse a record of the 28th January 1742, describing the measures 
taken for the protection of our growing town. " Considering the situation of this Island," observes 
the President, " with respect to the several neighbouring governments, the various and large 
numbers of people who continually resort hither, either on trade or otherwise, furnishes cause of 
anxiety. Further even as regards those properly esteemed inhabitants, we are not sufficiently 
acquainted either with their character or their trustiness. Bearing in mind that it is the un- 
doubted and fundamental maxim of all states to enforce such cautionary measures as may be best 
calculated for the prevention of any designs whether attempted from open force or secret trea- 
chery, I am induced to propose the following points for the consideration of the Board, as tending 
to greater safety and security: — ^That as the Bazar Gate, where is a continual concourse of people 
either to and from the town, has at present only a few privates on duty under a Serjeant's com- 
mand, it would be better, both in point of security as well as discipline, that an Ensign bg 
stationed in that post with two Serjeants, two Corporals, and thirty private men, and that a proper 
apartment be provided fcfr the accommodation of the Officer. Further that for the shutting 
the town gates hours should be fixed, namely for the Apollo and Church Gates at sunset and for 
the Bazar Gate within half an hour after sunset." The President's proposals, of which the 
above remarks are but the prelude, deal with a variety of matters, such as the entrance of 
men from the boats and vessels in Moody's Bay, a census of the inhabitants of the Fort, and 
the reservation of sites for the dwellings of " Europeans, topasses, sepojs and the better 
sort of Christians. " 

How different were our circumstances by this year of our Lord 1742 ; how 
changed the island from the days of Sir Nicholas Waite ! ■ The '* unhealthful, depopulated 
and ruined " possession of his day had been blest with increased population, with commercial 
progress, and was rapidly advancing along the path to pre-eminence in Western India. 

Ere the curtain rings down upon these years, we would pause a moment for a brief survey: 
of the Town and Island. To the extreme south lies "the point called Koleo (Kolaba), '' 
with a few scattered houses, yielding the Company 4,000 to 5,000 Xeraphins per annum • and . 
next to it Old Woman's Island , upon which some houses and a gunpowder-mill have been; erected, i 
and which we let to Mr. Richard Broughton for a j-ental of Rs. 200 a year. Across the strait, 
lie ■ the old Apollo Parish and the Esplanade ; the latter not greatly, altered, save that its palms 
have been thinned, the former still remarkable for its burial ground, Mendbam's point, " where 
are some tombs that make a pretty show at entering the haven." From the burial ground ' the 
traveller reaches the Ditch and ApoUo Gate ; entering the latter, and plodding northward he 
marks' pn his right hand the Royal Bastion, and beyond them the Marine Yard and Docks • on his 
left lies a jumbled mass of, dwellings and shops, stretching from the road, westward to the Town 
wall ; he leaves on his right hand the Hospital and Doctor's House, the House of the Superin- 
tendent of Marine, the Marine Store-house, and the Company's Warehouses, and pauses not till he, 
stands in the midst of a large tree-dotted space, the old Bombay Green. Immediately to west- 
ward he sees the Church (St. Thomas' Cathedral), and letting the eje wander past it, catches a 
glimpse of the great Church Gate (situated where the modern fountain now stands, opposite to 
the Post Office), and the bridge over the Town Ditch. On his right, at the most easterly point,, 
stands the Fort proper, with its Flag Staff Bastion, Tank Bastion, and-the house of the Governor. 


Northward he passes across the Green, leaving on his right the Mint, the Tank House, the Town 
Barracks and the Custom House, the latter two buildings being directly on the water's edge ; 
and sees directly in his path a foundry and smith's shops. These form the southern limit of the 
Bazar Gate Street, up which he wanders, past " Mapla For, " past shops, godowns and the 
dwellings of natives, past all the cross lanes, and side alleys, which intersect the native town -on 
either side of Bazar Gate Street from Town wall to Town wall, and finally arrives at the 
Bazar Gate, which is the most northernly entrance to the Town. Our two modern sections of 
Fort North and Fort South practically comprise the ground included within the old Town 
wall, though the total area has been increased by reclamation on the seaward side. From the 
Castle which was described by the Viceroy of Goa about 1730 as having "six modern 
bastions and being well defended with artillery," one looked across to the " Island of Patecas " 
(Butcher's Island), also well fortified '' with six or seven guns and a garrison of about seventy 
lascars." One Mr. Hollomore lived there about 1739, to whom we let the trees on the 
island for Bs. 15. 

North of the Bazar Gate were more native houses, oarts, and the Dongri Fort, erstwhiles 
a prison, but transformed into a fortress once again in the year 1739. From the latter one 
looked across a wide expanse of low-lying ground to Malabar Hill, which we let to Jiji Moody 
in 1738 for Rs. 150 a year, and again in 1744 to " Savaji Dharamset, .Rupji Dhanji and Vithal- 
das Keshavram jointly, for Rs. 175 a year." On the Back Bay side of the intervening ground are 
the great palm-groves, oarts and villages, which were noticed in earlier years ; and northward 
of them is new land, reclaimed from the sea by the Love Grove Dam. The latter had not 
sufl&ced to entirely shut out the ocean ; that benefit was effected later by the building of the 
Vellard ; but there was a larger area open for cultivation ; " plots yielding 8 to 10 mudas of 
rice which represents Xs, 224 per annum, and some salt rice-land paying a quit-rent of Xs. 200." 
Together with " 40,000 cocoa palms worth Xs. 6 to Xs. 9 a piece, " the estimated yearly 
rental of the town or Kasba of Bombay was Xs. 30,424, "representing a sale value of 
Xs. 3,04,240." The higher portions of the ground thus reclaimed must have Bhown signs of 
habitation by the year 1744. The people were beginning to build them dwellings in areas now 
comprised in the Ohakla, Oomerkhari, Bhuleshvar and Mandvi Sections. Whether the Fig-Tree 
Creek and the Foot-wash, Pydhoni, were anything more than mere names, we cannot with 
certainty say ; but are inclined to believe that the works at Mahalakshmi had by 1744 left them 
high and dry. Northward again was Mazagon village, '' yielding about 184 mud^s of rice and 
250 brab-palms, representing a yearly revenue of Xs. 4,000 (Rs. 2,769^)," and the Fort "armed 
with three guns and garrisoned by one sergeant and 24 men," Mazagon contained one of the 
six great Kolivadas of Bombay, " which together yielded Xs. 7,000 a year. " Other Koli hamlets 
were found at Warli, Parel, Sion, Dharavi and in Bombay proper. It was not a long walk from 
Mazagon to the village of Parel, " with its hamlets Bhoivada, Pomalla and Salgado, once the 
property of the Jesuits, yielding 154 mudas of rice, and some brab palms, representing a yearly 
revenue of Xs. 4,000 "; and thence one wandered into the village of Vadala, divided into Aivadi 
and Gov^di, and formerly owned by the Jesuits of Agra, which yielded a yearly revenue of some 
1 900 Xs. There were the village of N%aon (Naigaum) worth Xs. 1,000 per annum, the 
hamlets of " Bamanavali and Ooltem (North of Parel), yielding Xs. 400 per 'annum, Dh^r^vi 
the pakhadi of Sion, worth Xs. 225 a year, and the big village of Sion, " once the property 
of Miguel Muzzello Ooutinho, yielding a yearly sum of Xs. 1400." In Sewri and Vadala there 
were salt-pans, " belonging to the Company and yielding 34 r^sis or heaps, worth Xs. 1,100 
annually." South of Dharavi, between Mahim and Sion, lay the village of Matunga, or Matu- 
quem, which yielded every year 65 mudas of rice, or Xs. 1,700, and also contained salt pans 
(at RauH), from which the Company derived a rent of Xs. 1,200. Lastly there was the Kasba of 
Mahim, and the village of Varli. The former, according to contemporary Portuguese records, 
contained " 70,000 cocoa palms, of which about 23,000 belonged to the English Company. 
Some gardens and paddy fields which have fallen to the Company from want of heirs, yielded 
592 mud^s of rice. The Company has also land yielding 18 mudas of rice, once Jesuit property 
and other lands yielding 18 mudSs, once held by other quit-rent payers. That is a total yearly 


rental of Xs. 50,000." But besides these sources of revenue, there was also a BaHdvastae or' 
distillery, which together with one other in the Kasha of Bombay proper, realised 2,000 
Xs. a year ; and a ferry, which was farmed out with the Sion ferry-seryioe, for Xa. 12,000. 

The total rental of our island for the year 1727 was estimated at 1^44,150 Xs.,— a, 
considerable advance upon the revenue of Xs. 3,335, which the Portuguese were proud of draw- 
ing in 1537. To protect the island, its population of 70,000, its gardens, groves, rice-lands, 
fisheries, grave-yards, and salt-pans, there were in existence at the end of the period the Great 
Fort, with Bastions and Town-wall ; the Mazagon and Dongri Forts ; " the Fort of Sivri on the 
shore in front of the Salsette village of Maula, with a garrison of 50 sepoys and one Subehdar, and 
eight to ten guns " ; " the small tower and one breast wort with nine to ten guns, 60 soldiers and : 
one captain, at Sion, facing Kurla " ; the " triple-bastioned Fortress of Mahim," on the shore in 
front of Bandra, manned by 100 soldiers, and armed with thirty guns ; and lastly the fort oi 
Worli, " on the high point facing the Chapel of our Lady of the Mount, arnied with seven to 
eight guns and manned by an ensign and 25 soldiers." 

Such were the outward features of the land at the close of a period, which witnessed not 
only an amelioration of the general conditions of life, and a great rise in the number of inhabit ;^ 
tants, but also the commencement of that political and commercial activity, which was destined 
to raise the island to the proud position which she holds at the opening of the twentieth century. 

Period the Fourth. — 1744 to 1764. 

That any increase of population took place between the close of the last period and th& 
year 1764, which constitutes our next halting-place, is pj-ma/ac/e open to doubt. Niebuhr, 
who was in Bombay in 1764, certainly declares that our inhabitants numbered 140,0U0 : but 
opposed to this view, is a statement in the Historical Account that 60,000 was the gross total of 
our population in that year. Upon which of these two estimates most reliance should be placed, 
it is of course impossible now to decide. But personally we are inclined to believe that both are 
wide of the truth ; for on the one hand, as we shall attempt to show, no event likely to occasion a 
decrease of ten thousand, occuiTed during these twenty years, vyhile on the other hand so great 
an increase as 70,000 is scarcely credible considering the shortness of the period and the fact that 
in 178:1 the total number of our inhabitants was 113,726. It appears to us a more reasonable 
supposition, that the population gradually increased between 1744 and 1780 from 70,000 to 
113,000; and that by 1764, which is approximately the midmost point of this period, it numbered 
some eighty or eighty-tive thousand. The foundations of our belief in an increase are firstly the 
condition of the island by the year 1764, and secondly the fact that throughout this period the 
Company in no wise relaxed its efforts to expand the community by the same prudential and 
beneficent methods which had met with such marked success in preceding years. 

Regarding the first point — the condition of the Island — it is necessary to dwell briefly 

upon the external circumstances of these years, and discover what effect they exercised upon the 

policy of the Company and its servants. The period opens with a declaration of war by France 

and Spain against England, which, as the Directors warned the Bombay Government, required 

all our servants " to exert all possible sagacity for the preservation of our property, trade and 

estate." Aided by the presence of a squadron of His Majesty's ships, which had been despatched 

" to cruise against the French and Spaniards in the Indian Seas," our Council set themselves 

to carry out the wishes of the Court of Directors. " Although Bombay is in good condition 

against all country enemies, " they wrote in 1746, " yet as the European manner of attacking a 

town differs widely from that of the Indians, some additional works are judged necessary towards 

the sea side, the better to annoy such ships of the enemy as may be stationed in the road to 

bombard the town. * * * * Taking all the olrcumstances into consideration, it is 

unanimously agreed that the President write to the Chief of Surat to raise with all possible 

expedition for the present season 2,000 men-of-arms, consisting of Arabs, Turks, and others 

of different nations, preferable to their being all Moors or of any other one nation. Farther 

as the Sidis are a very resolute and warlike people and, from the assistance they have often 

received, likely to be attached to this Government, it is resolved to send to Janjira Captain 

James Sterling, who speaks the language, with the President's letter to the Sidi, asking 

leave to enlist 200 men. Except a party of 200, the Sidis and the 2,000 recruits from 

Surat will be encamped in the body of the island ready on the shortest notice to be sent to 

any part where they may be wanted. " Great activity was manifested, and sustained efforts 

were made to strengthen our garrison and fortifications until 1748, in which year, as 

the Court wrote, " a treaty of general peace is happily concluded between Great Britain,. 

France, and Holland, to which Germany, Spain and the other powers engaged in the 

late war have acceded." Fear of French aggression was thus for the time being removed : 

but was evoked, once agiiin ere the period ended, by the arrival in October 1756 of a packet 

" from the Honourable the Secret Committee (in England), enclosing some of his Majesty's 

printed declarations of war against the French king." This second war lasted till the end of 

the year 1762, and indirectly resulted, as the former had, in the strengthening of our position 

in Bombay. " We continue putting this island," wrote the Bombay Government in 1758, 

« in the best posture of defence under the direction of Major Mace. Your Honours may depend 

our utmost endeavours will always be exerted for its security. We have no account of the 

enemy having yet any force on this coast." The state of the castle was carefully noted by 

a committee of five, its curtains were faced with stone, its upper works mounted with heavy 

cannon its buildings rendered bomb-proof, while the European inhabitants and the militia were 

formed into companies to be stationed at various parts of the walls. Large stores of provisions 



■were laid ia as a necessary precaution, while general proposals for the better defence of the 
island were drawn up by Major Fraser in 1760, and adopted by the President and Council. 
In 1760 the French suffered several reverses ; for a letter of October 14th from Fort St.Georgo 
describes them " as eSectually sbuL up within their walls, and beginning to give tokens of 
•distress by forcing the black inhabitants to leave the place ; " while about a month later the 
Directors wrote to Bombay saying, '* In the course of this year it has pleased God to bless 
the British arms with most remarkable success against the French in all parts of the world. 
The most vigorous measures are still pursuing as the best, indeed as the only, means of 
bringing the enemy to equitable terms of accommodation and attaining that desirable object, a safe 
and honourable peace." Twq years later the war was brought to a close by the preliminary 
articles of peace, signed at Fontainebleau on November the 3rd, and the prospect of danger 
to our island, which had been heightened during the early portion of that year by the adhesion 
of Spain to the enemy's side, was finally obviated. 

Not from France and Spain only was trouble anticipated during these years. The Dutch 
also seemed likely to prove dangerous rivals. " We shall depend likewise," write the Directors in 
1757, " upon your using all prudent measures to prevent the Dutch settling in the Sidi's country 
at Eajpuri" ; — a letter which was followed a year later by a despatch couched in the following 
terms : — " It is with infinite concern we plainly see that the destruction of Angria proves a happy 
event to our rivals in trade. After all our immense expenses the Company's affairs are brouo-ht 
into a worse situation. For, although from year to year we have been amused with the most 
specious promises that the Dutch should be drove from Rajapur, and this indeed is one of the 
strongest articles in the treaty, yet the Nana has not driven them out. And now Gheria 
is gone, we are in doubt if he ever will. Now as we esteem it a matter of the last importance 
to Bombay that the Dutch should be dislodged for ever from Rajapur, we call upon you in 
the most serious manner to exert yourselves, using every prudent and political step with 
i;he Marathas and Sidis to shut out these dangerous competitors in trade." Till the 
end of the period, indeed, the possibility of Dutch aggression was contemplated by 
hoth the Directors in England and their servants in Bombay : for in 1762, we find the 
former concluding a letter to Government with the following i-emarks : — " It is further 
necessary to inform you that relations with the Dutch nation are at present so 
critical that we should not be surprised if they took some unjustifiable measures to our prejudice 
in the East Indies, particularly in Bengal. In these circumstances, you cannot be too watchful 
to prevent any dangers apprehended from the Dutch." 

The obligation to render the island more secure, which resulted from the hostility of 
European powers, was further emphasized by the unsettled condition of Western Indian politics. 
From 1748 to 1752 there was serious trouble in Surat, owing to an attempt by Safdar Khan and 
Sidi Masud to seize the reins of Government in that city : " City gates all shut, batteries built by 
both parties in every quarter of the town, daily skirmishes, street fights, and incendiarism," such 
was the condition of affairs as reported by the Surat Factors to the Bombay Government who 
endeavoured to, as far as possible, protect their own iuterest by the despatch thither of "200 sepoys 
with their officers " in 1 748, and of " 18 Europeans with an officer and 12 sepoj-s on the Drake 
Ketch " in 1750. The strict neutrality, however, which the Bombay Council enjoined on their 
compatriots at Surat, led to no solution of the trouble. In 1751, the latter wrote that " since the 
capture of the Durbar the Sidi and Safdar Khan's slaves have seized on four merchants and 
shrofifs and forced from them upwards of E,s. 40,000. That Aohan's people had that day made 
a sally and destroyed the batteries which the other people were raising against the eastlo the 
oannon of which also greatly annoyed them. That Achan reports he has provisions ' and 
ammunition for two years and that he will defend the fort to the utmost. On the other hand 
the Sidi declares he intends to take and make himself Governor of the Castle and establish 
Safdar Khan Governor of the Durbar. That the Ghinims (that is, Ghanim robbers or 
Marathas) are retired out of the town and stop provisions and trade of all kinds from coming 
into it, threatening to return with a number of men to revenge the Sidis burning the bouse of 
one of their principal officers." Eventually, after endeavouring to arrange matters with the 


help of "Nana the Pandit Pradhan " {i.e., Balaji Bajirao), the Bombay Governor concluded a 
treaty of peace with Sidi Masud, whereby the castle was given to him, and the city to Safdar 
Khan on payment to the Company of compensation amounting to Rs. 2,00,000. Until 1760 
no further trouble was experienced ; and, according to a letter of 1757, the Company was on 
terms of cordiality with the native government. But in 1760, shortly after receipt of the news 
that the Company had been made opmmandants of Surat Castle, we find the Court of Directors 
■expressing their sorrow at " the dangerous and disgraceful situation " of affairs in that city, and 
opining that '' the promoter of these misfortunes was the Dutch broker Mnnoher (Muncherji), 
a miscreant who, although in a foreign interest, has been most shamefully suffered to influence alj 
our public concerns." The Company, however, held manfully to the castle ; and by keeping 
in readiness " a respectable force," by the maintenance of '' great order and severe discipline," 
by choosing their commanders rather on the score of temper and ability than of seniority, by 
"keeping fair with the Governor of Surat City," and lastly by gaining the support of the 
merchant community, they managed to avoid further trouble during the remainder of the 

Of the Sidi some mention has already been made. Notwithstanding that his quarrels at 
Surat caused the Company some annoyance and temporary loss, his attitude in general was one 
of friendliness, to which our Council responded by permitting him to enlist troops on the island 
in 1747, and by supplying him with implements of war, " Sidi Masud, " according to the woi-ds 
of the record, " requesting to be supplied with two four-pounder and six six-pounder iron guns 
for the use of his grab, the storekeeper is directed to deliver them accordingly at the rate of 
Es. 18 per cwt., the price charged our own inhabitants, taking care duly to receive the amount 
before the guns are delivered." 

The Company's relations with Angria were of more importance. At the outset of the 

period, he appears to have been extremely obnoxious ; for the Court on the 17th June 1748 

informed the Council that they must " employ the cruizers in the best manner for the protection 

of trade on the coast against Angria," and that they should " also keep his brother Manaji in 

due subjection." In 1752 one learns that "Manaji Angria having been guilty of many insults 

to the vessels belonging to the inhabitants of this island, and in particular lately seized four 

vessels coming from Muskat which he plundered of goods to the amount of Rs. 1,500; it is 

resolved to deter him from the like in future by the issue of orders to the commanders of the 

Honourable Company's vessels to treat him as a common enemy by taking, sinking and destroy 

ing his grabs and galivats or otherwise distressing him. This we doubt not will soon bring 

"him to reason." Three years later the object for which the Company had watched and schemed, 

was attained : they had waited for many years, in anticipation of the hour, when with 

increased strength they might assume the offensive and rid themselves for ever of the pirate's 

opposition. In 1755 they coalesced with the Marathas and sent forth an expedition against 

Tuloji Angria, which, meeting with unqualified success, resulted in the inclusion of Banket 

among our possessions in Western India. '' By articles of agreement with the Marathas in 

March last," so the President informed the Board, " when our trcops went with them on an 

expedition against Tulaji Angria, it was stipulated that the forts at Pancote (Bankot) and 

Himmatcad with their dependent villages should be yielded to our Honourable Masters and the 

other conquered places to the Marathas. In consequence of this stipulation the Marathas have 

offered and are now ready to comply with their engagement." The Board, " hoping the 

possession of it will prove agreeable to our Honourable Masters," thereupon nominated 

Mr. William Andrew Price as Chief of Bankot, " as he is perfectly acquainted with the manners 

and customs of the country-people and their language " ; and sent thither with him a company 

of artillery, another of sepoys and a detachment of the train to be held in readiness to garrison it. 

But the Angria was not yet conquered ; from his stronghold of Gheria (Viziadrug) he could yet 

5ally forth and imperil our trade and shipping. Severndroog had fallen " by the vigour and 

judgment of Commodore James, of the Bombay Marine, and the resolution of his handful of 

troops and sailors." One more expedition was necessary to reduce our ancient enemy to 

:absolute harmlessness. Hence comes it that we read of the President informing tho 


Committee on January 15th ]756, that, " in consequence of the assurances given him 
as regards ammunition and damage in attacking Gheria, Bear Admiral Watson had agreed 
to proceed with the squadron under his command to act in conjunction with the 
Marathas," Though we were ostensibly working in concert with the Marathas, operations- 
were precipitated so as to exclude them from all share of the enterprise, as suspicions were 
entertained of communication. between them and Angria. - On the 7th February 1756 started 
the expedition which, according to Grant Duff, consisted of three ships of the line, one ship of 
50 and another of 44 guns, with several armed vessels, amounting in all to 14 sail, and manned 
by 800 European soldiers and 1,000 Native Infantry. On the 13th February at 6-23 p.m., the 
flag in Gheria Fort was struck, and an officer with sixty men marched into the fort and took 
possession : at 6-36 p.m., the English flag was hoisted. " The following day Colonel Clive with, 
all the land forces marched into the fort, and then despatched an express boat to the Honour- 
able Richard Bourchier, Esquire, President and Governor of Bombay, with advices of having 
taken Gheria and burnt all Angria's fleet, which consisted of ' the Restoration,' eight ketch 
grabs, and two large three-mast grabs on the stocks ready for launching, besides s number of 
smaller craft." Thus, aided by the genius and spirit of Arcot's defender, the Company reaped the 
reward of many years of patient preparation. The need for a defensive attitude had passed away ; 
and the once invincible corsair retired from the political arena to found a family of Konkan 
landholders, who should in after time be bound by the decisions of the English Government. 

With the Marathas we still cultivated the friendliness of preceding years. Deliverance 
from the attacks of Native powers was a necessarily gradual process ; one by one, the Portuguese,, 
the Sidi and Angria, had been removed from our path. The " imperial banditti " alone remained, 
and were destined yet to meet us in open battle. But for the present, their great strength and 
infinite capacity for harming our island obliged the Bombay Government to cherish peaceful 
relations with them, keeping watch in the meanwhile against any act of treachery or aggression.. 
" We are very glad, " wrote the Directors in 1746, "that you continue on good terms with your 
neighbours the Marathas. For the benefit of our island you will do well to cultivate a friend- 
ship with them, always being watchful against any surprise " : and ten years later, while 
discussing Dutch rivalry, they remark that " It gives us pleasure to observe that harmony and 
friendship continue between you and year neighbours the Marathas. We cannot too earnestly 
recommend you to exercise the utmost care and attention in preserving friendly relations. 
Among other advantages from their friendship we hope to be informed that the Marathas will 
not permit the Datch to establish a factory at Bassein." In 1757, when the prospect af a 
French invasion was imminent, the Nana (i.e., Peshva Balaji) offered through Ramaji Pant to 
accommodate European ladies and children at Thana ; while in 1760, according to an entry in 
the Government diary, Govind Shivrampant " delivered at the Company's new house an elephant,, 
presented by Nana to our Honourable Masters." Apparently the elephant proved more valuable 
as a symbol of amity than as a possession ; for in the same year Bombay informed the Directors 
that " a very fair opportunity presented for easing you of the charge incurred by the elephant 
given your Honours by Nana, namely, by sending it to Pharas Khan at Suratas a mark of your 
favour, and in consideration of his services and assistance in procuring the Phirman for 
the Castle and Tanka. To Pharas Khan's great disappointment the elephant unluckily died 
on the road. '-Ve intend to consider Pharas Khan's services in some other as frugal a manner 
as we can." 

Now these political events — the hostility of France, Holland and Spain, the insolence and 
final overthrow of Angria, the close proximity of the Marathas — resulted directly in the 
strengthening of fortifications and an increase of sea power. In 1746 we read of enlarge- 
ment of the Dock Pier Head, " so as to mount nine guns in the face towards the 
road, and two more for flanking the face of the Royal Bastion" ; repairs to walls of 
communication ; and the excavation of dry ditches. Ten years later " fascine batteries made 
of coooanut trees and bamboos and mounted with heavy cannon " were erected between the 
bandar and the fort ; two prahms were constructed '' to block up the entrance between the 
two Pier Heads ; and Major Chalmers with the king's and onr own artillery captains is consulted 


regarding our present situation and what is necessary to render the place more defensible." 
Two names which come most prominently before us during these years are those of Captain 
Jacques de Funok and Major Mace, the Engineers. Each of these in turn strove to turn the 
fort into an impregnable citadel. " The bastion of the castle called the Cavalier bastion," 
-wrote the Council in 1760, "has been raised 16 feet, filled up with earth and completed for 
mounting eleven guns ; and the passage which communicated with the lower part has been con- 
Terted into a small magazine for fixed shells. The low curtain between that bastion and the 
flagstaff bastion has been raised nearly to a level with the Cavalier, completed and mounted with 
ten 32-pounders. The embrasures are disposed so as to have a more extensive command over 
iihe greatest part of the anchoring ground before the fort. Two bomb-proof casemates either 
for troops or stores are nearly finished, one behind part of that which was a low curtain as above- 
mentioned, and the other behind the low curtain on the other side of the Cavalier bastion. By 
ihis means also a good communication is made for transporting guns, and that curtain will be 
broad enough for conveniently working the guns thereon, which it was not before. The parapets 
of the face and flank towards the sea on the flagstaff bastion, which before was a mouldering 
5odwork, have been faced with brick and masonry. Another embrasure has been made on that 
face and five 32-pounders mounted thereon. A battedeaux or dam with a sluice has 
been made across the ditch near the Apollo Gate to secure the water in case of any accident to 
the sluice at the angle of the Boyal Bastion. The dock wall has been continued and joined to 
■the last face which is almost up to its proper height. The wall, called here the dock wall, is 
built so as to answer the purpose in case another side should be added when another outward 
•dock will be complete. The two low flanks at the Royal Bastion have been raised nearly ten 
feet higher, and three embrasures provided in each. The parapets on the Royal bastion have 
been faced wiih brick and masonry. The covert way and parapets to the northward have been 
■continued and the communicator to Dongri Hill has been carried above half way. The two 
flanks and one face of the ravelin before the Bazar Grate have been completed and terrace 
platforms raised. One face with five embrasures and flanks to each and the other face 
with a draw bridge are far advanced. Several of the deep holes and pits adjacent to the walls 
iave been fitted with sand from a rising ground opposite to the Prince's bastion. A battery to 
.secure the ground before the Apollo Gate and prevent any attempts to land near Old Woman's 
Island is not quite finished. A wall has been raised about eight feet and carried from the north 
shoulder of the Cavalier bastion, northward obliquely before the low curtain between that bastion 
rand that of the tank. On this wall there will be three returns or faces towards the before men- 
tioned anchoring ground opposite the Cavalier bastion. This is extremely necessary, as the 
battery which was behind it and raised with cocoanut trees was wasted away and rendered 
useless." Dongri Fort was partially dismantled, on the ground that it was in dangerous 
proximity to the town ; while the general protection of the island was sought in the strengthen- 
ing of the outforts. " As the safety and preservation of the island," runs the Government record, 
" so much depend on the artillery, it is unanimously resolved to lay in a quantity of timber proper 
. to gun carriages, as this is deemed the cheapest season of the year for entering into a contract." 
The strength of the garrison was a subject constantly before the President and Council in these 
years; Sidis, as we have already seen, were enlisted ; " the Honourable Company's covenant 
:servants, with such other English inhabitants as are capable of bearing arms, were stationed 
upon the works in accordance with the orders of the Governor " ; and in 1759 Mr. Thomas 
Byfield drew up an estimate of the number of persons available for the defence of Bombay. 
JFifteen thousand seven hundred and fifty men were, according to his scheme, prepared to hold 
the Island against all opponents. 

In regard to our sea-power, the same activity was manifested. Additions were made to 
the fleet in 1752 ; in 1761 " many inconveniences having been found to result in the course of 
refitting the squadron from a want of the third dry dock, it is orderad that it be carried out with 
the utmost expedition, which will enable us to dock the largest ship of the squadron at any 
sprino-s." Till 1748 indeed, the only dry dock was a mud basin in and out of which the 
tide flowed at will. This basin was situated near the centre of the present Govern.maat Dock- 



yard. Under the auspices of the Honourable William Wake, a new dock was completed by 1750 
on the site of this old mud basin, and proved so successful that in 1754 the Marine Superintendent 
suggested the construction of a second. To the latter, apparently, Admiral Cornish referred in 
his letter of June 10th, 1762, " urging the completion of the outer dock before the return of the 
squadron." This work, which was finished by the close of 1 762, was almost immediately followed 
by the building of a third dock, to which the Honourable Charles Crommelin referred in 1765. 
" Our treasury, " he remarks, " being now pretty strong, and the third dock nearly completed, 
the same is ordered to be continued and finished as soon as possible. " The provision of docks 
coincided with the augmentation of the fleet, to which the Directors referred in 1757 in the 
following words :— " Although your success in taking Gheria with the entire destruction of 
Angria's fleet would at another time have made it prudent and necessary to have reduced our 
marine force, the unhappy event of a French war for the present forbids it. You must, therefore, 
continue the marine upon our last establishment until . you have our further orders. " More 
power by land and sea was the constant refrain of our. Government's consultations. Lowji was 
hard at work all these years, planning and constructing, helping us, by his industry and 
fidelity, towards the position which we coveted. On two occasions his merits were openly rewarded : 
once in 1754, when a silver rule, a set of instruments and a shawl, were presented to him in the 
Company's name ; and again in 1764, when, " The marine paymaster and superintendent 
representing that the long services of Lowji Master Builder, and the attention he and his two 
sons have paid to his Majesty's squadron ever since it has been in India, as well as to the 
Honourable Company's and all private shipping, renders them truly deserving of every 
encouragement, it is agreed that their standing monthly pay in future be as follows : Lowji 
Rs. 50, his eldest son Rs. 30, and his youngest son Rs. 25." 

Now this protracted endeavour on the part of Government to render the island 
unassailable by European fleet or Native legion, must have influenced the mind of at 
least one section of the Indian public. The merchant, noting how capable of defence 
the island had become, comparing the orderly progress of afi'airs here with the turmoil 
and confusion at Surat, and finally witnessing the overthrow of one of the most powerful 
obstructors of commerce, can have arrived at one conclusion only ; that here indeed was 
an island, whence one might trade almost undisturbed both with the main land and 
with ports outside India, and the Government of which would put forth all its might to 
protect the immigrant and settler. We cannot but believe that the foreign policy of the com- 
pany and their strengthening of garrison, marine and fortifications indirectly fostered an increase 
in the number of inhabitants : while, added to the incentive to immigration afi'orded by a pros- 
pect of protection to trade, there must have arisen a natural desire to dwell under the shadow of 
a Government, which manifestly treated its subjects with liberality. Read that old letter of the 
15th March 1748, in which the Directors summarise their aims. — " We are encouraged to be- 
lieve our island of Bombay may be rendered a very advantageous settlement and less expensive 
to us. To this end, therefore, we positively direct and require that by the exercise of a mild good 
Government, people from other parts may be induced to come and reside under our protection. 
Let there be entire justice exercised to all persons without distinction, an open trade allowed to 
all, and as often as necessary or as the force allotted will enable you, let convoys be provided to 
the ships and vessels in a body. In this we require exactness, as much depends upon it. An 
able honest man must ever direct the custom-houses at Bombay as well as at Mahim. No pre- 
ference must be given to any merchant over others ; for as all must and will pay our duties, no 
distinction should be made under any pretence. A constant steady pursuance of these rules will 
naturally draw people to leave the oppressions of other coimtry Governments, and come to you 
while freedom and exact justice subsist in our settlements. And because the inhabitants will 
constantly require materials for building and provisions for their families, which must be brought 
to the island, we direct that no obstructions be given in this or more duties charged thereon than 
may be publicly established. Be particularly careful that our servants take no fees or perqui- 
sites that are not consonant with reason or the ease and freedom of the inhabitants. We are 
determined to resent oppression, be it by whomsoever exercised." So counselled the Court at 
the opening of this period, nor forbore in subsequent despatches to emphasise the desirability of 


immigration. " It is very agreeable to us," they remark in 1755, " to observe that notwithstand- 
ing the superstitious attachment of the Indians to the places of their nativity, the number of 
inhabitants are greatly increased and that some very substantial people have settled among you 
to the great advantage of the island. As it is our earnest desire that as many people as porsible, 
especially those of circumstance, be encouraged to settle at Bombay, we strongly recommend it 
to you, to use the most prudent, equitable and encouraging methods for that purpose. In 
particular we direct that so long as it incommodes not the defence of the place, you suffer new- 
comers to build houses wherever it shall be convenient to them ; that they have free liberty to 
build and repair their own ships themselves in what manner and how they please, and be 
supplied out of our stores with what materials they want at the rates and prices allowed to Eu- 
ropeans ; and, in general, that they have all the reasonable privileges that can possibly be given 
them." The wishes of the Directors were faithfully carried out. Did scarcity of grain, as in 
1755, threaten to cause discomfort, the import duty was at once cancelled, " to encourage mer- 
chants and others to bring in a quantity for the relief of the inhabitants " ; or a committee was 
specially appointed, as in 1757, " to concert the most proper measures for bringing and constantly 
keeping a sufficient quantity of batty on our masters' account for the relief and support of the 
inhabitants in general." Eelief, we doubt it not, was afforded to the shoe-makers, who represented 
in 1759 that they suffered much " from a notable rise not only in the price of leather, but also in 
food and house rent j" help was extended in 1747 " to the poorer sort of our inhabitants," who 
had been much troubled by " the common people belonging to Nadir Shah's two ships " ; 
and protection was extended in 1747 with the full approval of the Court '' to a wealthy 
merchant who retired from Surat,"' as also " to a shroff belonging to Tarvari's house," who 
settled on the island in 1762. Mr. Eichard Bourohier prevailed upon certain weavers to 
come hither from Bassein in 1758 ; thirty-six bricklayers, each granted " an advance of 
three months' pay and ten days' provisions," voyaged from Surat in 1756 ; while towards 
the end of the period, many of the principal traders of Poona asked and received ])ermission 
to repair hither with their families, in consequence of the destruction of Poona by the Nizam's 
army. " As our Honourable Masters," quoth Government, " have frequently recommended us 
to give all suitable encouragement to people of substance resorting to this island, it is ordered 
that a publication be issued signifying that all persons who may repair hither shall enjoy 
the same privileges as other inhabitants, and be permitted to purchase lands or houses from 
any persons they think proper." The welfare of the inhabitants in general was sought by 
the issue in 1757 of " regulations for preserving good order and government on the island " ; 
by the appointment of a member of the Board as Town-Scavenger, '' as the town has become 
very dirty in great measure owing to the little regard the inhabitants pay to the scavenger, 
on account of his being always a junior servant ; " by the prevention of " all combinations, 
monopolies and attempts against the freedom of trade " ; by the promulgation in 1748 of 
building-rules, designed to minimise the danger of fires among merchants' houses and ware- 
houses ; by advances of money from the Land Pay Office to those whom the fire of that 
year had rendered homeless ; by the systematised up-keep of communications, such as the 
Bombav passage boat, which was " let to Curwa Bhat (Kharva Bhdt) in 1763 for Rs. 675 
per annum " ; by strict attention to the religious foibles of the people, as manifested in an 
order of 1746 that " the cow-oath," which had occasioned so much uneasiness and discontent 
was no longer to be administered in the Mayors Court ; and lastly by the institution in 1753 
of a Court of Requests for the recovery of debt. " As this Court," wrote the Directors, " is 
calculated for the benefit of the poorest of the people, we hope none of our servants, or of the 
inhabitants that shall be nominated Commissioners, will decline the service, as by an honest 
and faithful discharge of their duty they may be a blessing to the people. " 

Various communities are sei)arately mentioned in the records appertaining to this 
period. " Two of our sepoys have gone over to the Maratha country and under pretence of being 
Sidis plundered several people there, " so runs the record of April 24th, 1759. " It is ordered 
that the Sheriff cause them to be whipped through the town at a cart's tail and turned off the 
island and that the produce of their effects be applied to the use of the charity school." 


Two hundred and fifty Arab soldiers also were discharged in the followiug year for misbehaviour. 
Arab and Topass, however, were not singular in their defiance of authority ; for on the 18th Novem- 
ber 1673 we find " Andrew Pope, W. Bruce and T. Moore convicted of piracy and condemned to 
■be hanged as the law directs." The Farsis are spoken of as offering " to supply the island with 
provisions agreeable to the enclosed rates settled by your Honourable Board on the 20th September 
1757." " Upwards of 400 other side {i.e., across harbour) Kolis have settled with their families 
in the district of Mahim," from whom the ordinary ' pension ' was levied in 1748; and for the 
benefit of the fisher-folk generally, fresh orders were issued in 1754, forbidding any one to keep 
Koli palanquin-bearers, except •' the Governor, Council, Superintendent, Mayor, Chaplains, 
Surgeons, and such English as have families." We hear of Kamati labourers, employed on the 
fortifications, being enrolled in 1757 into a regular body of militia: of Hanials and Carwars 
{Kharvas or Sailors), of whom there were many on the island out of work, being placed in 1760 
"under the Bombay Custom Master's orders for fortification purposes" ; of Potters and Tile- 
makera, whose business necessitated their removal to the suburbs in 1758 ; of the Kunbis and 
other inhabitants of Mazagon village being relieved from the oppression of an intemperate 
farmer ; of " Dadaji iJaik and all the Bhandari inhabitants of this island " entering into a five- 
years' agreement " for forming the arrack rents and aut salami, that is the toddy-knife tax " ; of 
Topasses, whose pay was raised in 1760 to Rs. 7 a month, '' in consideration of the dearness of 
provisions and all the other requisites of life at this place " ; of the Portuguese, in the person of 
Ignatio da Gama, who offered Ks. 3,000 in 1760 " for the privilege of keeping four licensed punch- 
houses " ; and lastly of the Madagascar slaves. For the benefit of the last-named community 
special regulations were framed in 1753, the nature whereof may be determined from the fol- 
lowing paragraph in the draft : — " A particular regard to the diet of the slaves to preserve their 
health and thereby render them more fit for effectual service being essentially necessary, a 
sober judicious person should have the oare of inspecting their provisions to prevent any abuses 
in their quality, that so the slaves having no cause of complaint, their servitude may become 
«asy. Positive orders to bo given to the land and sea officers that they be treated with the 
greatest humanity, carefully instructed in their respective professions, and on no account 
whatever be made either servants or drudges." One -notable element of the population during 
these years was iutroduced in consequence of the desire to strengthen our garrison. " We ac- 
■qua,inted you by the Durington," wrote the Directors in 1752, "that we intended to send for the 
service of Bombay Presidency an entire company of Protestant Swiss soldiers to consist of one 
hundred and forty men, commission and non-commission officers included. We are now to 
acquaint you that the said company is embarked on the ships Eoyal Duke and Dodington under 
the command of Alexander de Zeigler, Esq., to whom we have granted a commission." 

Some further proof of the various nature of the population in these years is afforded by a 
statement, drawn up by the Bombay Custom Master in 1759, showing the amount of grain and 
provisions upon the island. He apportions the stores among the following communities : 

Rugvedi Brahmins. Ironsmiths. Parsis. Turners 

Gujarat do. Bhansalis. Moors. Washermen 

Yajnryedx do. Weavers. Pot-makers. Carpenters. 

P bh"' Painsallas (Panohkalshis). Mat-makers. Hamals. 

Banians'' Chaukalshis. Tailors. Sweetmeat-makers. 

Goldsmiths. Bhandaris. Shoe-makers. Bombay Coolies (Kolis). 

Coppersmiths. Christians. Barbers. Thana do. 

When we consider that this list referred only to Bombay proper, that a separate state- 
ment was submitted for "the district of Mahim " ; when we consider all the circumstances of 
the period, and the policy of the Company towards immigration, as evidenced by its treatment 
of individuals and communities, we are assailed by an overpowering conviction that the estimate 
of 60,000 in the historical account is incorrect, and that our population had increased by 1764 
though not perhaps to the extent suggested by Karsten Niebuhr. A perusal of the scattered 
references to the appearance of the town and island in these years only serves to strengthen 
that conviction. In 1746 Messrs. Rawdon and Saunders were appointed " to allot proper 


-spaces of ground to such of the inhabitants as may be inclined to build in the town." This 
order was doubtless necessitated by an influx of people, prepared to settle on any vacant spot 
that they might find. Four years later Grose referred to " the houses of the black merchants," 
-situated " in the town, which was about a mile in circuit. Most of these merchants' houses were 
ill-built and incommodious with small window lights and ill-arranged rooms. Even the best 
'have a certain air of meanness and clumsiness." But mora valuable evidence of the expansion 
■of the town is perhaps afforded by the following pnblication of 1754 :— " Whereas, in contempt 
■of the Government, several of the inbabitanta have made encroachments on the highroads by 
erecting buildings and sheds without license, the President and Governor by and with the advice 
■and consent of his Council has thought proper to ordain and direct that all cajan and palm- 
leafed sheds and pent-houses are to be pulled down till the monsoon sets in. That in future no 
houses, walls, compounds or sheds be erected within the town wall before a certificate is granted 
iby the Committee under their hands for that purpose. When liberty is given for building a 
house, the applicant must set about it in twenty days. No stones, chunam or other materials 
to lay longer in the public streets than ten days before the work of building begins. All the 
gmmalooh (prickly-pear, grdo maluco) hedges within the town wall to be dug up by the roots, 
•especially those around the ramparts. That, as few of the present holders of houses agree with 
the names on the rent roll, the name of every person purchasing a house within the walls be 
recorded in the Collector's office before the purchaser enters in the premises." Two years later 
•came a letter from the Court saying ; " It is with satisfaction we observe your scheme for 
accommodating many of the creditable inhabitants in the town, who much against their inclina- 
tions were obliged to live without it. We shall add that whatever regulations are made for 
the encouragement of the people in general, and of the richer sort in particular, will 
always meet with our approbation when they are calculated for the nmtual interest of the 
company and the people residing under their protection." So numerous were the houses in the 
native town, that many of them had eventually for safety's sake to be removed ; and were 
then rebuilt outside the walls. " Several of the proprietors of the houses 'now pulling down by 
your Honour's orders just without the Bazar Gate have lately applied to me for ground to 
rebuild "; so wrote the Collector in 1757. We hear of clearances outside the Apollo Gate; of 
the demolition of Moormen's mosques at the Bazar Gate in 1760 ; of petitions from the evicted 
house-holders for space to rebuild in any locality set apart by the fazendars ; of " large and lofty 
houses built betwixt the Church and the Fort, with several others contigaous " ; of waste 
ground " at the line of communication between Dongri and Back Bay being let out for the 
rebuilding of houses on the same terms as ground is let within the wall, namely, 1 1 res the square 
yard." The town was indeeed choked with dwellings, and was during these years subjected to 
improvements, the ultimate result of which was to distribute the population over the wide area, 
rendered habitable by partial reclamation. Grose, in speaking of the carts in 1750, remarks 
that " many together form groves with shaded roads and pathways, thick set with houses but 
wanting in air "; and as the displacement of the people progressed, new roads and burial grounds 
■were opened uj). We hear of land taken up for a public road from Parel to Sion, compensa- 
tion for which had not been paid to the proprietors in 1767 • of a road " from Church Gate to 
the Black Town, carried very near its full length of 360 yards ; and of a branch from this road 
leading 672 feet to the English burying-ground." The burying-ground here mentioned was 
Sonapur " in a cocoanut garden near the water side at the nether end of the Moormen's old 
burying-plaee," which from the year 1760 was utilised for the interment of the Englisli dead in 
place of the historical Mendham's point. The latter was doomed to demolition at the time of the 
clearance in front of the Apollo Gate. The batty grounds without the town-wall were reserved 
for building-sites J for Captain Cameron, according to a letter of April 9th, 17.')6, expressed 
doubts whether the lining out of streets thereupon might not interfere with the cannon at 
Dongri. Not only the Native but the European also had commenced by the clcae of these 
years to journey outside the Fort and Town. There was Mr. Thomas WhitehijJ " with a house 
-called Villa Nova, and a garden of some consequence at Mahim ; " there ware " two very 
pleasant gardens," according to Grose, outside the gates "and cultivated after the European 
jiianner " ; and at Parel the Governor had " a very agreeable country-house which was origi- 



nally a Romish chapel belonging to the Jesuits, but confiscated about 1719 for same fouL 
practices against the English interest." " It is now converted, " says the same writer, " into a 
pleasant mansion house, and what with the additional buildings and improvements of the 
gardens, affords a spacious and commodious habitation." In 1758 Mr. Thomas Byfield proposed 
"to fit up at his own expense for an habitation to live in " the old Mark House on Mazagon 
Hill, which, in the early part of the century, had always been kept well white-washed, to- 
serve as a mark for vessels sailing up and down the harbour. To this proposal Governmenit 
agreed, on condition that the tenant would white-wash the front of the house once a year, " to- 
continne a mark to the shipping coming in or going out of this harbour." 

At this point our survey of the period must close. We leave the islands strongly fortified,, 
and more compact than when we started. Colaba and Old Woman's Island are still separated from 
Bombay and from one another by Bea ; but the dam at Worli has already worked a wondrous 
change. Save for a narrow strip of salt water on the inner side of the breach, there is firm 
ground from the ruined village of Apollo to Worli Fort, from the Lighthouse at Malabar 
Point to the Salt pans of the northern villages and the Sion Fortress. The Fort, with its vast 
array of native and European dwellings, the latter " white-washed and with covered piazzas,"" 
of warehouses, shops, work-yards, with its triple Dock, Green, Protestant Charity Schools, 
called in after time the Byculla Education Society's Schools, Courts of Justice, Mint, and 
Church of St. Thomas, frowns across the Harbour to the east, and on the west over the 
Esplanade, whence the old Portuguese Church has but lately been removed. A new town is 
a-building to northward of the great walls, flanked on the one side by the partially-demolished 
Dongri Fort, and on the other by the house-dotted oarts and gardens, which ci'owd along the 
shore of Back Bay, and are broken only by the new burial ground of Sonapur, and the village 
and the waste-ground of (^lirgaon. The dwellers in this town rent parta of Malabar Hill from 
the Company ; and also till the wide expanse of low-lying land, which, starting from the 
northern boundary of.our new settlement, stretches away to the cocoa-woods of Mahim, to the 
Breach on the east and the populous villages of Parel and Mazagon on the west. Mahim and 
Sion, the outposts, are strongly defended, and are proud of forming part of that territory,, 
which, erstwhiles a cluster of islets, now one almost unbroken island, is being gradually 
colonised and enriched by the wisdom and beneficence of its merchant-rulers. 


Period the Fifth.— 1764 to 1780. 
It is probable, as we have remarked, that by the year 1764 an increase of population had 
taken place, the precise extent of which rtust remain undetermined. At the close of the next 
sixteen years, which constitute a fresh chapter of this review, the number of inhabitants is no 
longer open to question ; for we have it on the authority of the Compiler of the Gazetteer that 
a special Committee was appointed in 1780 to enquire into the causes of the high price of grain, 
and was incidentally furnished with a preliminary return of 47,170 persons, of whom 13,726 
lived in Mahim and 33,444 in Bombay. As this total appeared to the Committee to be far 
short of the actuals, and as it was shown that no sepoys, labourers or others from the adjacent 
countries were included, the vereadores were asked to give their estimate of the population. They 
replied that the least which ought to be reckoned for the district of Bombay was 100,000. The 
Mahim return of 13,726, they imagined to be pretty just. By the year 1780, therefore, the Bom- 
bay population had risen to 113,726 I The increase is considerable, and warrants at least a cursory 
review of the external and domestic changes which our island underwent during these years. 

The political history of the period is concerned for the most part with the relations 
subsisting between ourselves and the Marathas. Danger of war with France was not wholly 
absent ; for letters from Madras in 1771 observed that such an event was probable ; while in 1777, 
we received from Mr. Mostyn " alarming accounts of the proceedings of the French with the 
Poena Government," and applied " to Sir Edward Hughes or his successor in command to bring 
round his Majesty's squadron to Bombay as early as he possibly can." A year later the French 
Factory at Surat was seized by the Company, and all the Frenchmen in the City, with the excep- 
tion of the Consul and his family, were deported to Bombay. But, as Mr. Horsley pointed out to 
the Governor- General in a letter of August 2nd, 1779, there was never any apprehension of direct 
interference with our island ; there was only the possibility that Nana Fadnavis, who was at the 
head of the military party in the Maratha State, might encourage the French by grants of territory 
to settle as a barrier between English and Maratha Dominions ; and thdt, in consequence, the 
expansion of our power and trade might be seriously jeopardised. But the Bombay Government 
had attained a very strong position by the pursuance of a careful policy in earlier years, and by 
the gradual disappearance of former foes ; and the danger of French designs merely resulted in 
greater caution and in the adoption of measures for more sternly resisting external aggression. 
The confidence in their own strength, which now characterised the Company's Government, is 
seen in the despatch of an expedition to Persia in 1769. " The unhappy accident of the ship 
Defiance being blown up in the Gulf of Persia, " wrote the Board in 1767, " renders the send- 
in <t another capital cruizer to the gulf unavoidable. As we have already determined to accept 
Kharim Khan's proposals for acting jointly with him against Carruck and Ormuz, and have 
directed the Agent and Council at Basra to signify the same to him, our Honourable Masters' 
interest would be greatly aifeeted, if not entirely ruined, in case of the Khan's being disappointed 
in the assistance promised him, which must be the consequence if the Defiance is not replaced." 
A month later orders were issued to Major Mackenzie " to embark such a number of men on 
the vessels bound to Persia as will complete the force originally intended, allowing for the men 
lost on the Defiance." 

Regarding the Marathas, it will be remembered, that the closing years of our 
last period found us on good terms with them, but keenly alive at the same time to the 
danger of treachery and hostility. " All the states in India, " writes Grant Dufi", " were inimi- 
cal to Europeans of every nation, and even when bound down by treaties, they were at best 
but faithless friends, whose jealousy no less than their prejudice would have prompted them to 
extirpate the foreigners." Clive himself, at the time of the expedition against Angria, had 
clearly shown the Bombay Government that no reliance ought to be placed upon the good faith 
of the Marathas : and the Government had by the year 1764 decided once for all that exceptional 
prudence was necessary, to prevent their undermining our power or precipitating hostilities 
with us. For the first few years of this period, therefore, the old policy of caution and outward 
friendship was pursued. It was responsible for an order of March 22nd, 1765, from the Directors, 
absolutely forbidding the supply of arms to any country power, " unless for special reasons to 


the King of Travankor." " Oaanon, " they said, *' we absolutely forbid your supplying. We 
further positively forbid your supplying country powers with any warlike stores whatever. The 
same prohibition extends to all kinds of marine stores unless upon very extraordinary occasions, 
for which we shall expect the fullest and most explicit reasons. We forbid the building in 
Bombay of any ships for the use of country powers." It was likewise responsible for a letter 
of March 12th, 1766, in which the Court states that "you acquaint us that two sons of 
Tulaji Angria, escaptd from Maratha confinement, are amved at Bombay claiming our 
protection. We wish yon had not entertained these fugitives, as it may give umbrage to the 
Marathas. It will be more agreeable to us if you can get rid of the Angrias by giving a 
email sum of money to each and desiring them to go to some other country." The prohibition 
of the export of iron, " which Bohoras and others sent across the harbour for the service of the 
Marathas " was a further measure of precaution, dictated by the knowledge that before long we 
should have to meet the army of the enemy. As late as 1771, when that keen politician, the 
Honorable William Horuby, succeeded to the Governorship, we find the Board objecting to the sale 
or export from Bombay of " Europe naval stores, " on the grounds that " they led to an increase 
of the Marathas' naval force, very much against the interest of the Company." 

But from the year 1771 onwards the Company's policy suffered a radical alteration. The 
time had arrived for us to emerge as a political power, prepared not only to safeguard our island 
of Bombay, but to acquire, by force of arms, if necessary, additional territory. Dissensions 
among the Marathas themselves afforded us the opportunity of casting aside the r61e of a purely 
mercantile body, and putting to the test that military and political capacity, which for so many 
years we had been quietly perfecting. '' Maratha affairs, " remarked Mr. Hornby in one of his 
ininutes, "are fast verging to a period which must compel the English nation either to take some 
active and decisive part in them or relinquish for ever all hopes of bettering their own situation 
on the west of India." On the death of the Peshva Madhavrao, his uncle Eaghunathrao, or 
Eaghoba, had usurped the throne ; but had subsequently been driven from the capital, Pooua, 
by a party which favoured the succession of a posthumous son of Madhavrao. It was at this 
moment that the Bombay Government appeared, offering to assist in replacing Eaghunathrao 
upon the gadi, provided that he would cede to them Broach, Jambusar and Olpad, Bassein and 
all its dependencies, the whole and entire island of Salsette, and the islands of Karanja, Kenery, 
Elephanta and Hog Island in , Bombay Harbour. The Company had for some time coveted 
Salsette, Bassein, and Karanja, knowing full well that possession of them would preclude other 
nations from having access to the most commodious porb in India, and would secure the principal 
inlet to the Maratha country for woollens and other staples of England, the annual imports of 
which amounted at that date to some fourteen lakhs of rupees. They had endeavoured to obtain 
these islands by diplomatic measures, had despatched a Eesident to negotiate with the Peshva 
at Poona ; but the negotiations proved fruitless. The advantage of acquiring these islands, 
under the pretext of alliance with the fugitive ruler of Poona, was emphasised by a sudden burst of 
•■xctivity on the part of the Portuguese. On the 28th November 1774, the President informed 
the Select Committee that he had called a meeting to lay before them a letter " from Mr. Eobert 
Henshaw, who at present resides at Goa." Mr. Henshaw therein gave an account of the military 
and marine force lately arrived at Goa from Portugal, and of the intention of the Portuguese 
■ speedily to attempt the recovery of the dominions they formerly possessed to the northward of 
Bombay and particularly of the island of Salsette and Bassein . The Committee, after due con- 
sideration, observed that " there appears no doubt of the Portuguese intentions against the island 
of Salsette ; and as surely as they attempt the conquest of that island with their present force, so 
surely they will gain the possession of it. This event will not only put it out of our power ever 
to acquire its possession for the Honourable Company, who have so frequently expressed their 
ardent wish to obtain it, but will also be attended with infinite prejudice to the trade and 
interest of the Honourable Company at Bombay, by reducing their customs and revenues in a 
very great degree, as by the possession of Salsette the Portuguese will become masters of all the 
passes inland and will consequently be able, as they were formerly so prone on every occasion 
to do, to obstruct our trade and to lay whatever impositions they please upon it. We, therefere, 
think it becomes our undoubted duty by taking it ourselves without the least delay to prevent 


Salsette falling into Portuguese hands. It is observed that a more favourable opportunity than 
the present will probably never again offer, as by the divisions in the Maratha Government that 
Empire is now without a head, and it will be out of the power of either party to send any 
effectual force to obstruct our proceedings." On these considerations the Company signed a 
treaty of alliance with Eaghoba, and commenced the first Maratha War, by invading Salsette and 
laying siege to Thana. The Portuguese protested, on the ground that all the coast between Chaul 
and Daman belonged by right, to their nation, to which our Government replied curtly in the 
following words : — " As to the claims of your nation to the countries situated between Chaul and 
Daman, we are perfectly unacquainted with them. Though part of those countries did formerly 
belong to your nation, vet they were taken from you by the Marathas about, seven and thirty 
years ago. During all the intervening time we have never understood that you ever made any 
attempt to recover them." The expedition prospered ; Thana was taken by storm ; Salsette and 
the smaller island.s were occupied. Although Warren Hastings, the Governor-General, subse- 
quently annulled the treaty with Eaghoba, Salsette, Karanja, Elephanla and Hog Island remained 
in the Company's possession ; and to them were added Bassein, Kenery and other islands in a 
second treaty with Eaghoba, formulated by Mr. Hornby in 1778. We pass over the tale of the 
s&cond Maratha War, the expedition up the Bhor Ghat, the battle and disgraceful Convention of 
Wargaum, whereby the English gave up the territory and islands about Bombay, on condition 
of obtaining a free return passage for their troops. Humiliating as this treaty was, its effects 
were counteracted to some extent by Goddard's successes over the army of Sindia, and his 
capture of Ahmedabad in 1780; while the coveted isands were restored very shortly afterwards 
by the Treaty of Sal bye. 

These years, therefore, witnessed the debut of the Company as a military power in 
Western India. The garrison was strengthened, "after consulting Lord Clive, Generals 
Lawrence, Cailland, Carnac, and other military gentlemen on this important subject" ; bai-racks 
were built for sepoys, " a full number of whom it was indispensably proper to keep on the 
island " ; the Marine Battalion was established ; and " since a considerable number of troops had 
to be posted on Salsette to garrison Thana and the other outposts on that island, an additional 
military force for the Presidency was absolutely necessary. " The Foi't and ('astle were again 
surveyed ; ravelins were built, faces raised, dock pier-heads heightened under Captain Keating's 
supervision. The outforts, such as Sion and Eeva, were rendered more Impregnable ; Dongri, 
after much delay and doubt, was finally blown up in 1769, a new fortress, to be called Fort 
St. George, being commenced in the following year. The reports of the period bristle with 
projects for " eounterscai-ps," " terraces, " " i-avelins," " mines, " " glacis, " " casemates " and 
" cremaillere works, " the completion of which fully justified the account of our position, which 
Parsons recorded, in 1775. "Between the two marine gates, " be writes, "is the castle 
properly called Bombay (Elastic, a vary large and strong fortification which commands the 
Bay. The works round the town are so many and the bastions so very strong and judiciously 
situated and the whole so defended with a broad and deep ditch, as to make a strong fortress, 
which, while it has a sufficient garrison and provisions, may bid defiance to any force which 
may be brought against it. " The construction and repair of the fleet was at the same time 
actively prosecuted. " As it is essentially necessary, " wrote the Court in 1778, " that a large 
stock of timber should be constantly kept up for the service of our marine, that the vessels may 
be built and repaired with seasoned timber, we strongly recommend this object to your attention. 
We hereby positively order and direct that the Company's timber be used in building and 
repairing our cruisers only, and on no pretence whatever be applied to the service of private 
vessels. " In 1769 it was decided to build a new dock at Mazagon " for the use of ships that do 
not exceed 300 tons of burthen " ; and in 1781 was recorded a letter from Rear Admiral Sir 
Edward Hughes warmly acknowledging the assistance which the marine department had 
granted " in docking, repairing and refitting His Majesty's s^quadron. " 

Apart from the influx of people, which must have been occasioned by the mere extension 
of our fortifications and marine, an inducement to settle in the Island was doubtless afforded by 
our position relative to the Marathas. The trading community witnessed on the one hand a Imge 


confederacy, formerly masters of all India from the Camatic to Agrn, but now rapidly degenerating 
into a congeries of states ruled by intriguing princes, whose mutual jealousy was an unending 
source of weakness ; a nation, whose chances of imperial dominion had for ever vanished on 
that fatal day, when Ahmed Shah routed the Maratha army under Sadashiv Bap Bhau 
with a slaughter of 200,000 men. On the other hand they saw a small but vigorous community^ 
animated by one common sentiment of patriotic ambition, and keenly athirst for territorial 
sovereignty; a community which in the course of years had disposed effectually of all its 
enemies but one, and was now prepared to confidently join issue with that foe ; a community, 
which could offer such protection and freedom of trade as could never be expected in lands 
subject to native misrule. The Company, in a word, was rapidly acquiring prestige • bad 
emerged successful from struggles with Portuguese and Princes of Piracy, and was now strong 
enough to meet the Maratha on equal terms, and send out expeditions against his strong 

The advantages of living under a community so clearly destined to advancement, must, 
we think, have been patent to the inhabitants of the mainland, and have to some degree 
occasioned the increase of population, which was recorded in 1780. Added to this, was the 
knowledge of the consideration shown to the commercial community, irrespective of caste or 
creed. " As it is our wish," wrote the Court in 1775, " to give every encouragement in our 
power to the trade of Bombay and Surat, we direct that regular convoys be appointed monthly 
or oftener, if you shall judge it proper, to and from those ports. We are fully convinced that 
vessels on the Surat station, with a small assistance from your Presidency, will in general be 
fully adequate to such service without increasing your marine establishment. " In the follow- 
ing year the Company weut so far as to forward to Colonel Upton a copy of a memorial 
from " the principal European and country merchants, " complaining of the obstruction offered 
to free trade by the Poena Government, and to strongly recommend him to obtain from the 
Peshva an amelioration of the conditions, under which communications were carried on between 
Bombay and the territory of the Marathas. 

The progress of internal administration during these years is shadowed forth in a miscel- 
lany of orders. At one moment the Court is endeavouring to protect the native servant, whom 
careless Europeans were in the habit of talgng to England and then forsaking ; at another they 
are seeking to protect the highv/ays of the town, by forbidding "the owners of private build- 
ings to lay large quantities of stones in improper places. " Communications were improved by 
the establishment of a ferry boat between Thana and Bombay in 1776, '^as regular passage 
boats will be convenient to both islands and be of some advantage to the Company. " Orders 
were issued for the erection " of two large sheds, for the markets to be held in, one for meat and 
fowls, the other for fruit and greens, " and for the attendance " of a constable with an allowance 
of a quarter-rupee a daj'. " Committees were appointed to fix h tariff of labour rates ; while 
between 1771 and 1780 the health of the public was a subject constantly under the considera- 
tion of Government. " Orders must be given," observe the Board in 1777, ''for cleaning the 
town ditch in the most effectual manner, and 1,500 men must be immediately raised for this 
service, who must be employed upon the fortifications until the proper season arrives for setting 
about the other work. And as the copimon sewers which are discharged into the ditch make 
the water very offensive, and ^ve are inclined to think must affect the health of the inhabitants, 
it is further ordered that estimates be prepared of the expense of making sewers to discharge 
themselves into the sea, which in every respect nmst be preferable to the present ones. " By 
1780, radical reforms had been effected in police arrangements. "Frequent robberies, " wrote 
the Grand Jury in 1779, " with the difficulty attending the detection of the aggressors, call 
aloud for some establishment with such authority as will effectually protect the innocent inhabit- 
ants and bring the guilty to trial. " In consequence we hear of the substitution of regular 
sepoy patrols for the old Bhandari Militia, and of the appointment of Mr. James Tod to be 
*' Deputy of Police. " A convalescent hospital was started in 1768 on Old Woman's Island • 
plans for a sepoys' hospital were called for in 1769 ; so that by the time Forbes left Bombay 
there were three large hospitals, " one within the gates for Europeans, another on the Espla- 


nade for sepoys or native troops iu the Company's service, and a third on an adjacent island for 
convalescents. " In the matter of land, the Board expressed their satisfaction at the immense 
improvement of oart-revenucs. " We find, " they add, "that upon the whole the oarts have 
been let out for Rs, 2J, 615 a year, which is Es. 6,333 more than what they were last farmed 
for, though the present term is for two years less. " In 1772 an accurate survey of the whole 
island was agreed upon, in order that " the situation of the farmed out villages, namely, Malabar, 
Sion, Parel, Matunga, Dharavi, Nagaon, Vadala, Mahim and Bamancally, and of all the Honour- 
able Company's oarts and grounds may be exactly laid down, as well as those of all persons 
whatever." In other directions also the spirit of progress was manifested. The year 1773 
witnessed Mr. Holford's successful journey up the Arabian Gulf, and the earliest voyage of 
English ships direct from Bombay to Suez ; the year 1770 was marked by the commencement 
of a cotton trade with China, owing to " a considerable famine in that country and an edict of 
the Chinese Government that a greater proportion of the lands should be thrown into 
the cultivation of grain. " The demand for cotton went on increasing from that year 
until " the scanty supply during the Maratba War, the inattention to the quality, and the 
many frauds that had been practised, pi'ompted the Chinese to again grow cotton for their 
own consumption. " 

Meanwhile the aspect of the town was undergoing a gradual alteration. In the previous 
period we remarked the beginnings of extension ; the present period witnessed the furtherance of that 
work. In 1770 the principal Engineer represented that the Kolis' houses on the ridge of Dongri 
Hill must be immediately removed ; in 1772 the Board stated that " as there is great want of 
room within the town walls for Europeans to build, and as the Ohurch Street is a very proper 
place for that purpose, the present proprietors are positively prohibited repairing their 
houses " ; and in the same year was issued an order that " the shops to the south of Church 
Street having become a great nuisance, they shall all be removed to the bazaar. In future no 
shop must be permitted to the south of the north side of Church Street. " We read of the demo- 
lition of " small houses at present occupied by hamals and other indigent people between the 
Church and Bazaar Gates " ; of " the refusal of Government to permit the existence within the 
town walls of cocoanut plantations, and orders to the proprietors of such lands to lei them out for 
house-building. " Such measures were not enforced without giving rise to complaints ; the Moor- 
men, the oart-owners, and others, all petitioned against the removal of their dwelling-places ; 
but the work progressed in spite of them ; the town proper was gradually cleared ; a now town 
began to rise to the north of the Bazaar Gate. The Esplanade underwent considerable alteration ; 
being levelled in 1772, extended " to the distance of 800 yards and cleared of all buildings and 
rising grounds" in 1779 ; and subsequently further extended to 1,000 yards. "It is very 
improper, " wrote the Board, " to erect buildings thereon, which may in a short time be again pulled 
down. Some other accommodation must, therefore, be found for the first battalion of sepoys. " 
Here and there the mention of particular buildings or areas testifies to the gradual improvement 
of the island. There are barracks on Old Woman's Island, " put into proper order for the recep- 
tion of the Europeans now encamped in tents " ; " small buildings erected distinct 
from the barracks to serve as a kauji or conjee, that is, gruel or correction house " ; and 
directions are given to the Engineer for the preparation of plans " for separate bungalows, to 
accommodate the officers of two battalions. " The old powder-house, between the Church and 
Apollo Gates, which had gradually spread to within 210 yards of the Stanhope Bastion, 
disappears during those years and is replaced by new powder works at Mazagon. The 
Chief Engineer in a report of 1782 remarks that : " The sand-hills between the burying 
ground and sepoy hospital have been removed and a great part of the Esplanade between 
the burying ground and the woods has been levelled. The dwelling-house, called the 
Powder-House, has been levelled to the ground. " Houses of entertainment began to be 
established, " W. Chambers and David Ecklin desiring they may be permitted to keep such 
institutions for strangers." The Board granted the request, drew up regulations and a scale of 
rates for them ; and four yeai-s later permitted Mr. Ogilvie Geddes to establish " a well- 
regulated punch-house without the town-walls," hoping that European soldiers and seamen 


would no longer be forced to purchase '' from the Bhandaris and others strong inflam- 
matory liquors. " One of the best known buildings in Bombay was Mr. Hornby's Great 
House, which stands in bis name in the Bombay Collector's rent roll for the first time in 
1771. Subsequently it was used as an Admiralty house ; and has been improved and con- 
verted by a later generation into the present Great Western Hotel, facing the main gate of the 
Government Dockyard. 

Of the outlying portions of the island an occasional glimpse is vouchsafed. There 
was a lofty tower on Malabar Hill in those days, in which Raghunath Rao passed the period 
of his exile from Poena, and whence he sallied forth occasionally to pass through the holy 
cleft at Malabar Point; but the hill was still waste- land, small portions of which were 
utilised for grazing and other similar purposes. We hear of excavations for limestone at 
Parol and Sion, whereby the Kunbis were put to some loss ; of a petition on the point 
from Caspar Dagon, the farmer of several villages in that locality. A petition was also 
received from Lieutenant James Jackson of the Artillery, " requesting that a lease of a 
piece of waste ground situated near Byeulia may be granted him, as he is desii-ous of build- 
ing and making other improvements on the same." In 1768 the old Mazagon estate 
finally disappeared ; for on the 27th March 1767 the Board decided that " as the lease 
of Mazgaon estate expires on the 11th May next, and as our Honourable Masters have 
recommended the letting it out in small lots,' it shall be let out accordingly on Tuesday, 
the 15th day of May, in such lots as the Collector, after making a proper enquiry, may 
judge most to our Honourable Masters' interest." Eventually the following sub-divisions 
of the estate were let separately for fourteen years : — " 1st Lot Naugar, including Ghodap 
Dev, let to Framji Hirji Moody for Rs. 845 a year ; 2nd lot Mallavady, including Byculla 
except the Mango tree generally known by the name of the Governor's mango tree, which 
is to remain as heretofore for his use, and the ground let to Mr. Andrew Ramsay, and one 
muda of batty ground to be allowed to the Mhatara for his pay, let to Dadabhai Manekii 
Rustamji and Dhanji Punja for Rs. 410 a year ; 3rd lot Culvodey (Kolivada) Sui'ji let to 
Raguset Goldsmith for Rs. 340 a year ; 4th lot Bandarvadia let to Manekji Limji and Bhimji 
Ramset for Rs. 500 a year ; 5th lot Mazagaon Oullowdy (KolivaOi) let to Raghuset Madset 
for Rs. 640 a year. In case the Honourable Company should want ground for the Dock or the 
Powder Works, they are to have such ground on making a reasonable deduction in the rent ; 
6th lot Oart Charney let to Mungaji Visaji for Rs. 715. " 

Perhaps the most remarkable alteration in the outward aspect of the island was the 
construction of the Hornby Vellard (from Portuguese VaUado=a. fence), called in these days also 
Breach Candy or " the Beach beside the ' Khind' or Pass." We have seen that in the preceding 
period some attempt was made to resist the encroachment of the ocean ; but the dam erected 
in those years was scarcely stout enough to wholly check the wanton inrush of its waves. So 
during the Governorship of William Hornby, the great vellard was built, which 
rendered available for cultivation and settlement the wide stretch of the flats and 
resulted in the welding of the eastern and western shores of our island into one united area 

A general description of the town, as it appeared in these years, is given by two writers the 

traveller Parsons, and Forbes, the author of " Oriental Memoirs." The former, who visited Bom- 
biy in 1775, informs us that : " The town of Bombay is near a mile in length from Apollo Gate 
to that of the Bazaar, and about a quarter of a mile broad in the broadest part from the Bunda 
Bandar) across the Green to Churjh Gate, which is nearly in the centre as you walk round the 
walls between Apollo and Bazaar Gate. There are likewise two marine gates, with a commodious 
wharf and cranes built out from each gate, beside a landing place for passengers only. Between 
the two marines gates is the Castle properly called Bombay Castle, a very large and strong forti- 
fication which commands the bay. * * * Here is a spacious Green, capable of containing 
several regiments exercising at the same time. The streets are well laid out and the buildings 
so numerous and handsome as to make it an elegant town. The soil is a sand, mixed with small 
gravel, which makes it always so clean, even in the rainy season, that a man may walk all over 
the town within half an hour after a heavy shower without dirtying his shoes. The Esplanade 


■is very extensive and as smooth and even as a bowling-green, which makes either walking or 

riding round the town very pleasant." Mr. Forbes is of opinion that the generality of the public 

buildings at this epoch were more useful than elegant. " The Government House," he writes, 

■" custom house, marine house, barracks, mint, treasury, theatre and prison included the chief of 

these structures. There were also three large hospitals, one within the gates for Europeans, 

another on the Esplanade for the sepoys, and a third on an adjacent island for convalescents. 

The only Protestant Church on the island stood near the centre of the town, a large and 

-commodious building with a neat tower. There was also a charity school for boys and a 

fund for the poor belonging to the Church of England. There were seldom more than 

two chaplains belonging to the Bombay establishment. When I was in India (1766- 

1784), the one resided at the Presidency, the other alternately at Surat and Broach, 

where were considerable European garrisons. The Roman Catholics had several churches 

and chapels in different parts of the island and enjoyed every indulgence from the English 

Government. The English houses at Bombay, though neither so large nor elegant as 

^hose at Calcutta and Madras, were comfortable and well furnished. They were built 

in the European style of architecture as much as the climate would admit of, but lost 

something of that appearance by the addition of verandahs or covered piazzas to shade 

•those apartments most exposed to the sun. When illuminated and filled with social parties 

in the evening, these verandahs gave the town a very cheerful appearance. The houses 

-of the rich Hindus and Mahommedans are generally built within an enclosure surrounded 

by galleries or verandahs not only for privacy but to exclude the sun from the apartments. This 

court is frequently adorned with shrubs and flowers and a fountain playing before the principal 

uoom where the master receives his guests, which is open in front to the garden and furnished 

with carpets and cushions. The large bazaar or the street in the black town within the fortress 

contained many good Asiatic houses and shops stored with merchandise from all parts of the 

world for the Europeans and Natives. These shops were generally kept by the Indians, 

•especially the Parsis, who after paying the established import customs, were exempted from other 

• duties." 

And what of the population in these years ? Before noticing the scattered references to 
this or that caste or individual, we would remark that the number of temples and fire-temples, 
which existed in the year 1780, affords striking testimony of the increase of inhabitants in our 
island. Between 1740 and 1780 Dady Sett had built an Agiari in the Fort, Dossabhoy N. Sett 
had founded a fire-temple near Phanaswadi ; Manekji N. Sett and the Parai Panchayat had 
•erected Towers-of-Silence. The Hindu community had shown even greater zeal. By the close 
of this period there were temples of Gamdevi, 'below Malabar Hill, and of Venkatesh in the 
Fort ; a temple of Samalialal, a new temple of Walkeshvar, a shrine of Prabhadevi at Mahim, 
shrines of Girdharilal at Thakurdvar and of Babulnath near Chowpatty ; a temple of Kalbadevi 
in the town ; the Shiva Mandir in Mughbhat, Mahadev Mandir in Varii, and finally the great 
temple of Mahalakshmi, hard by the newly-built Hornby Vellard. The " Moormen " also had 
their mosques, for religious toleration was still the watchword of our Government. 

Of individuals who made Bombay their home during these sixteen years, one may note 
Amirchand Sakarchand Shah from Cambay, Megji Abhichand Shah from Radhanpore, Krishna 
Uarayan from Bassein, Rustom D. Nadirsha, Framji Manekji Karani, and Jamsedji Nanabhai 
Gazdar from Surat, Edalji Jijibhai Vacha from Nowsari, Cavasji R. Narielwala from Hansot, 
and Bhimji Dhanji Umrigar from Umra. The names seem familiar enough to us of the twen- 
tieth century. In 1774 died old Lavji Nasarvanji Wadia, leaving behind him a house, a sum 
of money under £ 3,000, and an untarnished reputation. His sons and grandsons succeeded 
him in the Dockyard, built two ships of 900 tons burthen, and received increases of pay and 
-presents for their diligence and fidelity. Of castes and communities, mention is as usual made of 
the Kolis. The old grievance about palanquin-duty formed the subject of a petition to Govern- 
ment in 1767 ; and is subsequently referred to in a letter from the Collector. " I beg to inform 
Tour Honourable Board," he writes, " that not any Kolis who act under me have ever been 
Imployed to fish in the Breach water. The Dolkars, who are the fishing Kolis in my depart- 



inent and the only people who possess nets, are never employed to carry palanquins. Those 
Kolis employed for that purpose receive the same fixed pay established for all Kolis who carry 
palanquins on this island ; and whenever they are employed in such a manner as to leave their 
families and habitations, they receive, if only for a single day, much higher ' bhatta ' than what 
it is customary to allow Kolis in adjacent countries. The great opulence of these people is too 
notorious to need my noticing to your Honourable Board further than to remark that this 
opulence has in a great measure been acquired from the many indulgences granted them and 
which no other caste on this island ever enjoy. " Slaves from Madagascar and other parts are 
spoken of as employed in the Marine yard, and as being apprenticed as caulkers in 1765, the 
Mazagon boys, who had hitherto performed such duties, being " bred up as cooks and servants in 
the manner formerly practised." Mr. John Watson contracted in 1771, for the supply of 800 
slaves to Fort Marlborough ; while in 1780 the Directors sent to Bombay the following advice : — 
" Having given direction to our servants on the west coast of Sumatra to send to Bombay on the 
Snow Elizabeth a number of cofFrees which were unnecessary at the before-mentioned settlement, 
we direct that the said cofFrees be employed under your Presidency either in your military or- 
marine in such manner as you shall judge will best promote the Company's interest. " The 
population return of 1780 shows that 431 slaves were then resident on the island, 189 of whom 
belonged to Bombay and the remainder to the Mahim district. The number of domestic 
servants must have been an increasing factor in our population during these years. The Indo- 
Portuguese or Goanese had apparently not yet taken up the duties of butler and cook ; for 
Forbes in his Memoirs tells us that " European ladies were well served by young female Malabars 
trained by themselves ; and the men by Negro or Malabar boys, who were our favourite personal 
attendants." " The upper servants," he adds, " were usually Mahommedans and Parsis.'' Times- 
have changed since then ; the Parsi has yielded place to the Goanese, the Mahommedan to the 
' Surti, ' who is of Dhed or Mhar extraction. The Moors or Mahommedan sepoys are heard of in 
1769 ; such of them as were in military service declined to wear ' Christian boots, ' as being 
opposed to religions principles ; and in 1774 ' Shatuddin Patel, Commandant-Subhedar of the 
Moormen ' appealed against an order to pull down certain houses. The Bhattias attained an 
unenviable notoriety in 1775, in connection with ' a most horrid murder committed on a Banian 
boy named Pitambar, ' whose body was afterwards found in a house occupied by their caste- 
fellows. The Bhandaris figure as militia, present a petition in connection with that system in 
the year 1780. " Ever since this island," so the appeal runs, " has been under the jurisdiction 
of the East India Company the Bhandaris have proved themselves good and faithful subject^ ; 
they have been instrumental to the increase of the inhabitants of this place, and it is notorious' 
that when the Sidis invaded Bombay, their forefathers did distinguish themselves in the defence 
thereof, for which they have received repeated marks of favour and countenance from this 
Government. * # * * It was with no little trouble that the Bliandaris were induced 
to come and reside on this island, and your petitioners are entirely ignorant of their having 
deserved the ill-treatment they now suffer. The farmer has contracted with your Honour to 
supply 800 men upon the shortest notice. In this matter your petitioners are manifestly injured 
as they are by this become the immediate dependents of a Parsi, instead of your Honour to 
whom they have ever looked for protection and for whose service they are always ready whether 
they are paid for their trouble or not." Some compromise, doubtless, was made between the 
distressed Bhandaris and the arrack-farmer. The Kunbis have already been noticed in con- 
nection with the excavations in Pareland Sion rice-lands ; the Topasses were still being enlisted 
in military service, were in 1775 granted " Es. 6 a month for their subsistence, andEe. 1 a 
month for their clothing in like manner as those that are kept for the Mandvi Guard that is 
Ee. 1 a month less than the topasses were formeriy allowed," Lastly a new European element 
was introduced into the island by the import of German artificers. Ensign Witman declared 
that the native was unsuitable for the conduct of Military works, and was despatched at his own sug 
gestion to Germany to raise a Company of artificers, " to be added to the battalion of infantfv 
outhis Establishment." As far as can be determined from existing records, Mr Witman's 
journey was not highly successful, as only 25 men of the required description had been des^ 
patched to Bombay by the year 1779. 


.nh^mlATTrT^'n^''^ ^'''■^ "^^ '"•* ^'' fi**'°g^y ^'*^ *^« details of population, 
submtted to the Graln^Oommzttee of 1780. The oasteB, resident in Boinbay, exclusive of 
labourers and non-residents, were as follows :— ;,, 's.wusito oi 









Eugvedi Brahmins 







Palshe Brahmins 







Gujarati Brahmins 






Shenvi Brahmins 
















































. 71 




Panch Kalshis ... 







Chau Kalshis 












Parsis ... 


















Tailors ... 



' ' 184 




Sweetmeat Makers 






Telara Kunbis 












Kilme Kunbis 






Snrat Kunbis 






Turners ... ' 



19' • 









Tarias of Surat ... 






Tarias of Bombay 






Moormen ... •« 



. 1,347 



Coolies of Bombay, Tanker and Maza- 







































25 , 

- 145 











This retai-D, it must be remembered, appeared to the Committee inaccurate, inasmuch as 
no account had been taken of persons in military service or of labourers. Then, as now, there was 
a very considerable floating population, which spent some months of the year on the island, and 
the rest in the villages of the mainland. It was the knowledge of this fact, presumably, which 
led the vereadores to reckon the Bombay population at 100,000. TJie caste-names entered in the 
list, with one exception, offer no ground for discussion. But who are the " Tarias " of Surat and 
Bombay ? Sir James Campbell suggests that they were " Ferrymen " ; and no better expla- 
nation having yet been offered, one would adopt his view of the matter. 

The corresponding details for the Mahim District were as follows : — 













Rugvedi Brahmins 








fa she Brahmins ... 








Gujarati Brahmins 







Shenois and Ghittis (Ghitparans).. 

































Bhansalis ., 















Panch Kalshis of Parel ... 







Agri Kunbis 







Kunbis of Nagaon 







Sion Coolies 








Kunbis of Matunga 








Mahim Punch Ealshis 







Kunbis of Sion 







Agris of Thakurwadi 







Bhoivada Kunbis 







Mahim Sattas Coolies 







Mahim Bhandaris 







Kunbis of Sivri 







Kunbis of Vadala 







Bhandaris of Matunga 







Carpenters of Mahim 





1 :... 








Knnbis of Khar 







Sivri Coolies 







Dharavi Coolies 







Sion Bhandaris 














Chan Kalshis 














Kunbis of Bamnanli 







Bhandaris of Mahim 







Washermen ,. 









Worli Panch Kalshis 













Kitta Bhandaris 












Moormen (see 49 below) 









Moorish Weavers 























Mocry Coolies 







Warli Coolies Pankars 







Do. do, Thalkars 











■ •■ 

















Bhandaris Kate Kamle 







Washermen of Parel 









Total ... 

















As we close the tale of this period, we cannot help remarking the extraordinary change 
which our island underwent in the space of little more than a century. Those seven disconnect- 
ed isles of 1661, with a population of ten thousand persons, had by 1780 become practically 
one land with a population more than ten times as numerous. Oolaba and Old Woman's 
Island, it is true, still held aloof ; but the time was not far distant when they also should become 
merged in the Island of Bombay. The nineteenth century, to which the course of the narrative 
has almost brought us, is characterised possibly by more brilliant progress, by more notable 
reforms ; but the satisfaction which they evoke cannot be greater than that with which the 
tale of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries inspires us — the tale of quiet progress in the 
face of many and great difficulties, of triumph over internal disabilities and external peril, the 
story of a Company of merchants practising with one accord the old doctrine of good-will 
to all, and guided by their strong men towards the goal of political supremacy. , 


Period the Sixth.— 1780 to 1814. 

As we survey the period subsequent to the year 1780, and cast about for the most 
convenient point at which to intercept the course of the narrative, two dates— the years 
1812 and 1814— at once engage the attention. Estimates of the population of Bombay 
are recorded against both years ; and the only question for decision is which of the two is 
the more suitable for our purpose. Glancing at the figures of 1812, one notes that the large 
total of 235,000 by no means represents the normal population of Bombay ; but that some 
70,000 persons are classed as " migratory " or as " famine refugees." It is quite clear that 
the population of Bombay in 1812 was abnormal, was subjected to spurious and temporary 
augmentation owing to certain unusual circumstances. This being so, it seems advisable to 
reject the year 1812 as a halting-stage, and look forward instead to 1814, in which year, 
according to Warden, our population was 18,000. There is no reason to doubt the approximate 
accuracy of this estimate, and it only remains, therefore, to notice whether a rise of over 
sixty-five thousand in the number of our inhabitants synchronized with any conspicuous political 
events or with any remarkable internal changes. 

So far as the Marathas are concerned, the present period merely witnessed a 
continuance of the struggle, which, commencing with the Ist Maratha War, had been 
temporarily interrupted by the humiliating retreat of Colonel Egerton's army to 
Wurgaum. In 1781 Mr. Hornby was still at the head of affairs in Bombay ; and knowing 
the views which he held in regard to the Maratha power, one is not surprised to find 
hostilities recommenced in that year. We do not mean to infer that Mr. Hornby alone was 
responsible for the continuance of hostilities. The Bengal Government recognised quite as fully 
as he, that the struggle between ourselves and the Marathas was both necessary and inevitable. 
But there mcty have been among the Bombay public persons who, knowing in what great need of 
funds Gtovernment then was placed, might have felt disposed to postpone actual warfare for 
some time longer ; and to the subversion of such opinions the general belief in Hornby's sagacity 
and prudence must have in no small degree contributed. la 1781, therefore, we find the 
English in possession of Kalyan, and General Goddard marching to the siege of Bassein. " The 
European part of his army was sent down to Salsette by sea, the battering train was prepared 
in Bombay, and the sepoj-s were to march by land. Early in October the whole of the dispos- 
able force at Bombay and in the neighbourhood, consisting of five battalions, was placed under- 
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hartley, who was instructed to drive out the enemy's posts 
and cover as much of the Konkan as possible, so as to enable the Agents of the Bombay Govern- 
ment to collect a part of the revenues, and secure the rice harvest, which is gathered at the 
close of the rains. There is, perhaps, no part of Mr. Hornby's minute more exi)re3sive of the 
distress under which that Government laboured than that where, alluding to the field forces they 
were preparing, he observes, ' our troops will better bear running in arrears when employed on 
active service, and subsisting in the enemy's country ' ; for it is a principle with the British 
Government and its oflBcers in India, than which nothing has more tended to the national 
success, always to consider the peasantry under their strictest protection. " After a spirited 
action, whereby the enemy were for a time driven out of the Konkan, Hartley was enabled 
to cover so successfully the siege of Bassein, that the city capitulated on the 1 1th December 

In the meantime Hyder Ali of Mysore had been endeavouring to form a confederacy of 
all the Native Powers of India against the English ; and the opportunity appearing favourable 
the Governor-General decided to make peace with the Marathas, and utilise against Hyder the 
forces which would otherwise be engaged against them. General Goddard was accordino-ly 
directed to ofl:er terms to the Court at Poena, while Scindia was vigorously attacked in his own 
dominions by another division under Colonel Camac. Of Goddard's advance to the foot of the 
Bhore Ghaut, and his disastrous retreat to Pam el, ''with a heavy loss of 466 in killed and 
woimded, of whom 18 were European Officers," it is unnecessary to speak at length. Hostilities 
were eventually closed by the Treaty of Salbye in 1782, whereby we at last gained permanent 


possbssiou of Salsetfce, Elephanta, Caranja and Hog Island, but gave back Bassein and all our 
conquests in Guzarat to the Peshva, and made over Broach to Scindia. The Marathas on their 
part agreed to become the allies of the English against Mysore, and the Peshva pledged himself 
to hold no intercourse with liuropeans of any other nation. The cause of Baghoba was definitely 
abandoned by tlia English and he became a pensioner of the Peshva. " The treaty was a good 
stroke of imperial policy, "says Maclean, '' for it set the English free to deal separately with 
Hyder Ali; but, in spite of some brilliant feats of arms performed in Gujarat, the Konkan 
and Central India, it cannot be said that the reputation of the British arms bad been 
raised by a war in which they had suffered two snch i-everses as the capitulation of 
Wurgaum, and the retreat of General Goddard. These disasters were plainly due to the in- 
competency and want of enterprise of the ofEcers in command, who sjstematically over-rated the 
strength of the enemy, though the Marathas wore always beaten easily, when there was any 
actual fighting. There was safety in aggression, but none in retreat before an enemy quickly 
elated by any sign of discouragement among their adversaries ; and had some of the brave young 
■officers who chafed at Colonel Egerton's irresolution been in command at Talleygaum, the 
British force would have entered Poena as conquerors instead of being sent back in disgrace to 

Until 1802, no farther hostilities took place openly betweon ourselves and the Marathas. 
But the internal affairs of their kingdom were in the interval leading to a crisis, which resulted 
in the Treaty of Bassein and the Campaign of Assaye, " The main object of ihe policy of Lord 
Wellesle}'^, who succeeded Sir John Shore as Governor-General in 1798, was to drive the 
French out of India. To attain this end, he compelled the Nizam to accept a British subsidiary 
force in lieu of a French contingent, crushed Tippoo, and used all his means of persuasion 
to induce the Peshva and Sindia to become subsidized allies of the British Government. 
Nana Fadnavis, " the Maratha Machiavel," who for the last quarter of the eighteenth century 
was the principal political personage at the court of Poena, always steadfastly opposed the 
admission of the English into the Deccan ; and, even when Madhaji Scindia marched to Poona 
with the design of upsetting the authority of the Brahmins, and becoming master of the Deccan, 
Nana did not ask for the fatal aid of English troops to secure himself in power. Madhaji died at 
Poona at the moment when his ambition seemed on the point of being fully gratified : and 
Daulat Rao, who succeeded him in 1794, had not the capacity to carry out his plans. The in- 
fluence of Sindia's military power remained, however, supreme in the Deccan. The young 
Peshva Mahadu Rao, in a fit of despondency at being kept in a state of tutelage by Nana 
Fadnavis, and forbidden to recognize his cousin Bajee Rao — the son of Raghoba — threw himself 
from his palace window and died from the effects of the fall ; and Baji Rao, obtaining the support 
of Sindia, was proclaimed Peshva, to the temporary discomfiture of Nana Fadnavis, who, how- 
ever, subsequently had the address to reconcile himself with Baji Rao and Sindia and to regain the 
office of Minister, which he held till his death in 1800. The Governor- General tried to per- 
suade Sindia to return from Poona in order to defend his diminions in the North-west against 
the Afghans, but instead of listening to this advice, Sindia and the Peshva meditated joining 
Tippoo against the Engiish, and were only disconcerted by the rapidity and completeness of the 
English success. The weakness of the Peshva's Government, and the natural disinclination of 
the predatory Marathas to abandon the pleasant habit of plundering their neighbours, caused the 
greatest disorders throughout the Maratha country, and every petty chief with a band of armed 
followers made war and raised revenue on his own account. In Poona itself lawless pxcesses of 
.all kinds were committed ; and the Peshva and Sindia were both at the mercy of a .turbulent and 
rapacious soldiery. In 1801, a new power appeared on the scene. The Holkar family had for 
many years been kept in check by Sindia : but Jasvant Rao Holkar, the most celebrated of all 
.the Maratha freebooters, succeeded in getting together an army strong both in cavalry and in 
disciplined infantry and artillery. Marching on Poona in 1802 he won a complete victory 
over Sindia in a desperately contested battle ; and the pusillanimous Peshva, who had not 
.appeared on the field, fled first to the fort of Singhnr, and thence to Revadanda on tlie coast, 
where he found an English ship to take him to Bassein." 


This crisis of affairs appeared to Lord Welleslej' " to afford a most favourable opportun- 
ity for the complete establishment of the interests of the British power in the Mardtha Empire." 
Hence negotiations were set on foot, which resulted in the Treaty of Basssin being signed by 
Baji Rao on the 31st December 1802. By that treaty he bound himself to accept a subsidiary 
force of 6,000 men and to assign territory worth £260,000 a year for tlieir pay, to give up his 
claims on Snrat, to accept the Company as arbiter in the disputes of the Peshva with tbe 
Gaekwar, to admit no Europeans into his service, and not to negotiate with any other power 
whatever without giving notice and consulting with the Company's Government. In return 
the Company undertook to replace him on the " Masnad " at Poona, and did so on the 13th May 
1803 ; an action which resulted in the campaign of Assaye, Argaum, and Laswari against 
Sindia and the Kaja of Berar. The military force at Bombay wms emfjloyed during the 
campaign in reducing the Fort and territory of Broach, and the possessions of Sindia in Gujarat 
and to the southward of the J!^ei-budda — a work which was successfully carried out. It may 
be noted that in 1799, when extra help was required to crush Tippoo, our town and Island 
raised a corps of Fencibles 1,000 strong, of which Mr. Forbes equipped and paid 50 men ; and 
that for the campaign of 1803, Mr. Duncan, the Governor, was authorised to convert this corps 
into a regular regiment, the 9th Regiment of Native Infantry. The war of 1803 was followed 
by war with Holkar in 1804, which was finally concluded by the peace of 1805. From that 
year up to the end of the period under review open hostilities with the Maratha power were 
temporarily held in abeyance. 

It was not only for her own hand that Bombay fought during this period ; she also aided 
the Government of India in its war with Mysore, by the despatch in 1781 of an expedition under 
Colonel Humberstone, which took Calicut and Ponany, and by the supply of reinforcements in 1782 
which took Honore, Mangalore, Candapur, Karwar, and all the strong places on the coast of the 
province of Kanara. The story of the assault of Bednore and the death of General Mathews and 
twenty other Bombay ofiBcers is too well known to require repetition. Once again in 1799 did 
Boinbaj' stretch out a helping hand against the son of Hyder Ali ; and to such good purpose 
that the Marquis Wellesley expressed in the warmest terms to Mr. Jonathan Duncan, then 
Governor of Bombay, his appreciation of the work done by the Bombay contingent, declarino' 
that " the merits of Generals Stuart and Hartley, as well as of Colonel Montresor and other 
officers, have seldom been equalled and never surpassed in India." 

Bombay, in truth, was supremely conscious that she had become a political power, 
and was determined to raise her military prestige to the same level with her commercial 
reputation. Thus we hear of her citizens, headed by the Governor himself, subscribing a sum of 
Rs. 3,00,000 towards prosecuting the war with France, of the raising of a corps of armed men • 
and finally there are the eulogistic words of Lord Wellesley, in reply to an address from the 
inhabitants of Bombay upon the glorious termination of the Mysore War. '' The distinguished 
part," he wrote, " which the seltloment of Bombay has borne during the late crisis in the labours 
and honours of the common cause has repeatedly claimed my warm approb'atiou, and will ever 
be remembered by me with gratitude and respect. In your liberal and voluntary contribution 
towards the exigencies of your native country, and towards the defence of the Presidency under 
whose Government you reside, and in the alacrity with which you have'*given your personal 
services for the military protection of Bombay, I have contemplated with pleasure the same 
character of public spirit, resolution and activity, which has marked the splendid successes of 
the army of Bombay from the commencement to the close of the late glorious campaicn." 

The despatch of a detachment to occupy the island of Perim in 1799, and to initiate 
political relations with the Arab chief of Aden, the equipment of the expedition to Egypt 
under Sir D. Baird in 1801, when " the troops embarked in five days after the requisition was 
made for them, and the whole business was conducted with regularity and rapidity " : and 
finally the operations a<;ainst the Pirates of the Coast ; all these events are proof that the power 
of our settlement was increasing, that our island was gradually gaining the position, which 
might justify the subjects of other Governments seeking her protection. Notwithstanding that 


An gria's power had been shattered, piracy was still carried on -by Maratha cruisers which issued 
from Malwan in Kolhapur or from Vingorla in Savantwadi ; •' while to the north of Bombay no 
serious attempt had yet been made to harry the nests of pirates, who had sheltered from time 
immemorial in the creeks and islands along the coasts of Gujarat, Cutch and Kathiawar. " 
During these years Boml)ay bestirred herself to rid the western coast for ever of those atrocious 
sea-rovers, of whom such early writers as Ptolemy and Marco Polo had spoken with disgust, and 
whose presence had given the name of " Pirate's Isle " to the sacred island of Beyt. In 1807 the 
Kathiawar States were taken under British Protection ; in 1809 Colonel Walker, the Political 
Agent, induced the Rao of Cutch to sign a treaty binding himself to co-operate with the British 
Government in the suppression of piracy ; while in 1812 treaties were made with Kolhapur and 
Savantvadi, whereby the sovereignty of Malwan and Vingurla was ceded to the English, and all 
vessels found equipped in a' warlike manner were given up. Although the final blow to piracy 
was not dealt till the period succeeding that of which we write, enough has been said to show 
that the long-established power of the Corsairs was seriously undermined by the year 1814. 

"What then was the position of our Island by the end of this period ? In 1782 our out- 
posts had advanced as far as Thana ; and the Bombay Government could claim the sovereignty 
of all the group of islands in the estuary from Basseiu to Colaba. The Bombay Marine had 
established its supremacy along the Malabar Coast ; the Bankot district had become British 
territory ; and in Gujarat the authority of the Gaekwar was practically wielded by servants 
of the English Government, The year 1800 witnessed the trausfer to the Company of the whole 
administration and revenues of Surat, whose ruler received in exchange a pension. Finally 
" the peace of 1805 left Bombay in possession of political authority almost co-extensive — if we 
exclude the province of Sind — with that which she now enjoys. She supplied subsidiary forces 
to the Gaekwar of Baroda and the Peshva, and garrisoned the Portuguese city of Goa, occupied 
by the English during the continuance of the French War." She could send out expeditions to 
foreign lands, and at the same time successfully guard her own territory against attack ; for 
" English policy and arms had successively subdued all the native powers, and reduced to mere 
ciphers those of them that still retained a nominal independence." 

These events were sufficient in themselves to occasion a rise of population ; for, as 
General Wellesley remarked during his visit to the Island in 1804, " increasing channels of 
w'ealth " had in consequence of his victories been opened " to this opulent settlement." " This 
island," he wrote on another occasion, " has now become the only place of security in this 
part of India for property, and for those who are the objects of the Peshva's enmity and 
vengeance, a circumstance equally honourable to the character of the British nation and 
advantageous to their interests, and affording the strongest proof of the confidence which 
the natives repose in the justice and wisdom of our policy and our laws. " Commercial 
rivalry on the part of other European nations was an event no longer to be apprehended ; 
trade was in a flourishing condition ; and the old system of impartiality and good-will to all 
manner of men, which had first been born of the great mind of Aungier, had, in conjunction 
with carefully fostered military strength, insensibly, but none the less inevitably, led to the 
steady colonisation of a once barren and " inconsiderable " land. 

As regards domestic affairs, it w^ill perhaps suffice to notice on the one hand certain 
administrative measures, designed for the better government of our possession, and on the 
other hand any alterations which the town or island may have undergone during this period. 
We have already made mention of the good work done by the Bombay Marine ; of how the fleets 
of the king were repaired in the Dockyard ; how it had become the police-force of the Indian 
seas. Its importance as a part of the executive power was increased by the appointment in 
1785 of a Marine Board, and in 1786 of a Comptroller of Marine. " The reasons which you 
offered during the war," wrote the Court in March 1785, " that the ships belonging to his 
Majesty's squadron so fully engrossed the marine yard that you could not then carry into 
execution our orders and regulation of December 1778 for forming a Marine Board, 
can no longer exist, now that peace is restored. Hor can the excuses offered in your letter 



of the 10th February 1784 of the many more necessary avocations in which our President 
is engaged be admitted for further postponing this essential business. In our opinions the 
Regulations bid fair to produce the most beneficial consequences to the Company as well as to 
those merchants who may build or repair their ships at Bombay. They have been drawn up 
with all the care and attention due to so salutary a measure. And we are determined our 
orders shall in this respect be obeyed. You are, therefore, to consider it as our positive demand 
to • which we will not admit any further evasion or excuse, that immediately upon receipt of 
this letter you do form the Marine Board and comply with the several orders and instructions 
respecting the same, as directed in our letter of the S 3rd December 1778." During these 
years, a Marine Survey was also established, for the benefit of both Government and 
private merchants. Equally important were the measures taken to ensure more accuracy 
and despatch in the general business of the State. In September 1785 the Directors 
forwarded the following instructions : — " Instead of the various sub-divisions of departments by 
which the business of our settlement is now conducted, it is our order that the whole detail 
should be carried under the following branches : — 

1- The Board of Conncil, I 3, Boaid of Bevenue, 

2. A Military Board, ' 4. Board of Trade. 

Our President and Council will still continue to act in their double capacity of Public and Secret. 
As the duties respectively belonging to each seem to be accurately defined in a Minute of the 
Governor-General and Council of September 23rd, 1783, we enclose a copy thereof for your 
guidance. The sole difference is that, in the definition of the business of the Public Department, 
it mentions matters which regard commerce and shipping, whereas our intention is that matters 
of that description shall belong to the Commercial Department." The Court proceed to lay 
down the constitution of the Military Board, and of the Board of Trade, adding that all subse- 
quent despatches will be addressed to the Bombay Government in its Public, Secret, Military, 
Revenue and Commercial Departments. Four years later the Political Department was insti- 
tuted ; and also " the post of Private Secretary to the Governor's Office, " to which Mr. Edward 
Galley was appointed on a salary of Rs. 500 a month. 

The most notable change in the Judicial Department of the administration was the 
foundation in 1798 of a Recorder's Court, which succeeded the old Mayor's Court, on the arrival 
of Sir William Syer, the First Recorder. The Court was accommodated at first in Colonel 
Jones' House in Marine Street (now the Apollo Bonded Warehouses) ; and by 1800 in the 
Admiralty House (Mr. Hornby's), which in these days has become the Great Western Hotel. 
Sir William Syer died in 1802, and was succeeded by " Sir James Mackintosh, ' the Man of 
Promise, ' who, in the words of his diary, used to vary his idle and disengaged life at the 
Governor's noble country house of Parel by days of business at the Recorder's Court. In 1804 
he writes : I have four terms for civil business and four sessions for criminal. The number of 
my days of attendances is about 110 in a year ; and I commonly sit three or four hours each 
day. I have found the business very easy, indeed rather an amusement than a toil. The two 
Barristers are gentlemenlike men. " Another important measure during these years was the 
appointment of Justices of the Peace. In 1793 the Governor and Members of Council were the 
only Justices of the Peace in Bombay, and in 1796 sat in a Court of Quarter Sessions, inviting 
two of the inhabitants, agreeably to Section 155 of the Assessment and License Act, to sit 
with them. This system appears to have continued until 1798, when the duties of the Justices 
were lightened by the transfer to the Recorder's C!ourt of the Sessions of Oyer and Terminer. 
In 1807 the Governor aud Council of Bombay were empowered by Act 47, George III, 
to issue commissions, appointing so many of the Company's servants or other British in- 
habitants, as they should consider qualified, to act as Justices of the Peace, under the seal of 
the Recorder's Court. The first commission was issued in 1808, whereby a Bench of twelve 
Justices was appointed, whose principal duties were to attend to the proper cleaning, and 
repairing and watching of the town, to raise money for this purpose by assessment on its 
inhabitants, and to grant licenses for the sale of spirituous liquors. 


Not only by appointment of Justices did the Bombay Government endeavour to preserve 
the health of the growing town. Vaccination is for the first time spoken of in these years ; is 
mentioned by Dr. Hove, the Polish Savant, who visited Bombay in 1788. " Mr. Farmer," he 
writes, '' has inoculated about thirteen hundred old and young, out of which he did not lose more 
than two. This has remarkably abated the small-pox." In 1803 we find the Bombay Government 
forwarding to the Court " twenty copies of u pamphlet recently published at this Presidency by 
Dr. George Keir of your medical establishment, containing an acoount of the introduction of the 
cow^-pox into India," and adding that " the zealous exertions of that gentleman have proved a 
principal means of securing the blessing of the discovery to this island." 

For the further convenience of Bombay inhabitants, regular postal communication with 
Madras was established in 1788. The scheme originated with the Governor and Council at 
Fort St. George, who " resolved that an attempt should be made to keep up a regular and 
constant communication between that settlement and Bombay, on the principle of its being 
attended with both a public and private benefit " and the following plan, proposed by Mr. Morris, 
was carried into execution : — 

1. That there shall be stationed at each Presidency i pairs of Kasids (messengers). 

2. That the first pair shall be despatched by the Government of Madras the first 
Wednesday in the month, and be directed to proceed to Bombay by Hyderabad and 

3. That the second pair shall follow on the third Wednesday, and so to proceed in 
regular routine, despatching them every other Wednesday till the four pairs are in employ. 

4. That as soon as the Kasids can be procured at Bombay, they shall be returned 
from thence on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, by pursuing of which 
method, a constant and regular communication will be kept on foot. 

5. That such individuals as choose to avail themselves of this mode of conveying 
letters to and from each Presidency, are to pay when put into the office, for a single letter 
Es. 2, for a double letter Rs. 4, and for a treble letter Rs. 6. Packets, according to their 
weight, at the rate of Rs. 4 per ounce. 

6. That the K^sida undertake to deliver the packets entrusted to their charge for 
either settlement within 25 days, and to return within the same period with other des- 
patches, unless detained by Government on account of their packets not being ready. 

Of minor arrangements for the benefit of the people, one may remark in particular the 
emancipation of the Kolis, and the refusal to grant a five years' monopoly to the sellers of betel- 
leaf. " As we understand," wrote the Directors in 1791, " that an old arbitrary power, which 
was established when the island belonged to the Portuguese, has been exercised in later times, 
and perhaps is in some degree still exercised, against that most useful set of people, the fisher- 
men, a certain number of them being obliged to fish in the Breach water, and to act as palanquin- 
bearers to some of the gentlemen in office, for the first of which duties they either receive no 
pay or scarce any and for the latter not near the wages customary, and that they experience other 
grievances which must not only subject their industry to imposition, but their persons to insult 
and oppression from the sepoys or others authorized to compel ?hem to execute such duties, we 
direct that in case such grievances do still in any degree exist, they be on receipt of this letter 
entirely abolished and the fishermen released from all such servitude and left as free as the other 
inhabitants of the island."' The idea, of a betel-leaf monopoly was sternly discountenanced, on 
■the ground that " monopolies of this nature, however apparently calculated or intended .for the 
public good, frequently produce inconvenience and grievances, which in this case would chiefly 
fall on the lower order of people, to whom betel-leaf is an absolute necessary of life. " 

Such were the more important domestic improvements of this year ; but no survey of 
the period would be complete without a reference to building operations. As early as 1787, 
encroachments within the walls of the garrison had become so numerous that a special Committee, 


consisting of the Land Paymaster, Collector and Chief Engineer, was appointed to examine the 
private buildings which natives were erecting, and decide how far they might prove prejudicial 
to public works and the general health of the inhabitants. One learns that in the absence of 
any restriction respecting the height of houses, " the confined extent of their ground has led 
many of the black inhabitants to raise their houses to so great a height as may be injurious 
to ihe healthiness of the town. It has likewise been unfortunate, both for the coolness and the 
appearance of the town, that little attention has been given to the breadth of the streets, and 
to keeping them as much as possible straight cutting each other at right angles. " The 
Committee made various suggestions for improvement ; that the principal street of the town 
should be enlarged to fifty feet, the cross-streets to twenty-five feet, and the lanes or ' galis ' to 
fifteen feet ; that no native house should exceed thirty-two feet in height, " from the terreplein 
to the eaves " ; that all shop-projections should be removed, '' as being positive encroachments 
on the streets, and receptacles for every kind of filth and nastiness " ; that every house-holder 
should be compelled to clean daily that part of the street opposite his dwelling-house ; that 
any house-holder " allowing dirt to remain in the street opposite his dwelling-house " should 
be fined ; and that the piling of goods on the green or any other open area within the town 
should be restricted to particular kinds of specified goods ; " and that the inspection and control 
of the business should be placed under such authority as might effectually prevent the incove- 
nience from going beyond the limits allowed by Government. " Notwithstanding the approval 
of these suggestions, and the issue of an order to carry them to a practical issue, some external 
stimulus was needed to effect definite expansion and improvement. An opportunity of intro- 
ducing wider and more regular streets, and of relieving congested localities, was eventually 
afforded by the great fire which broke out in the north of the town on the 17th February 1803. 
How it orose, was never definitely decided ; but to quote the words of the Honourable Jonathan 
Duncan, " So great and violent was the conflagration, that at sunset the destruction of every 
house in the Fort was apprehended. The flames directed their course in a south-easterly 
direction from that part of the Bazaar opposite to the Cumberland Eavelin quite down to the 
King's barracks. During the whole of the day every effort was used to oppose its progress, but 
the fierceness of the fire driven rapidly on by the wind baffled all attempts ; nor did it visibly abate 
till nearly a third part of the town within the walls had been consumed, " A letter from the 
Bombay Government of the 26th February- 1803 shows that altogether 471 houses were 
destroyed, out of which 5 were the property of Europeans, 231 of Hindus, 141 of Parsis, 83 
of Mahommedans ; while 6 " places of worship " and 5 barracks (the Tank barracks) were also 
burnt to the ground. The last embers were hardly extinguished, before the Bombay Government 
was initiating the work of reform. A careful survey was made not only of the quarter affected 
but also of those localities which had escaped ; we read of many houses being removed as 
dangerous, 10 in Church Gate Street, 7 in Govind Kanoba's Street, 5 in the lane opposite 
Sorabji's house, 2 in Vithoba Yadavji's Lane, 2 in Framjl Nanabhai's Lane, 4 in Purshottam 
Chimaji's Street, 5 in Oavasji Patel's Street, 3 in Nahabhai Bamanji's Street, 2 in Kavasji 
Subehdar's Lane, 5 in the Governor's old stable and 9 others. A large quantity of matting 
was removed from the European quarter to the north of Church Street, and demands were 
made for the demolition of certain Bhoys' (Bhois or Palanquin-bearers') houses near the Bazar 
Gate. The real importance of the fire, however, lay not so much in the improvement of the 
town within the fort walls, as i« the inducement which it offered to the construction of a new 
town outside. The area beyond the fort had in an earlier period been practically and sparsely 
built over ; but it was not till after the fire of 1803 that the native town, as we know it to-day, 
began to spring up. The idea of a new town outside the walls was strongly approved l)y 
Government. '' It must probably appear, " they wrote, " under every point of view preferable 
to allot a space in the oarts adjoining the fort and esplanade for the erection of a black town 
such as at Madras ; or gradually to effect such a separation between the town and fortifications 
as exists at Calcutta. " Later, in writing to the Town Committee, they expressed a hope that, 
that body would be able " to convince the natives in question of the unadvisableness of their 
residing in a garrison crowded with lofty structures filled vsdth goods and merchandise and 
intersected by such narrow streets as existed before the late fire. And that from the conviction 


forced on their niinda by the late sad calamity, they will willingly concur in the expediency of 
their dwelling houses and families being without the Fort, where they ought to be sensible that 
under' the advantage of our insular situation both will be in perfect security. " In order lo 
■encourage the building and rebuilding of bouses outside the walls, a fresh site was selected for 
the import and traffic in such inflammable substances as oil, dammer and ghi ; the old passage 
of the Mandvi or custom house was closed ; and every facility was afforded to the dealers in 
ouch substances for settling in close proximity to the new site. Pressure was also brought to 
bear upon those whose houses had been destroyed, and who were anxious to rebuild upon their 
old sites, in order that the area of the conflagration might be reserved for a better and less 
inflammable stylp of building. " The exclusion of inhabitants," said the Committee, " is a desi- 
rable object to be attained, as many of the previous inhabitants had no right to a residence in 
Port. They had no business to transact, and were merely drones in the hive interrupting the 
business and pursuits of others. The change of the Mandvi will also withdraw a considerable 
number of petty traders who will find it to their interest as well as to be more convenient to be 
near the -scene of their traffic. Thus the accommodations within the Fort will be left to the more 
respectable and wealthy merchants, who have the best claim to its protection." By 
the close of 1803 the Committee were steadily engaged in apportioning new sites outside the town 
walls, and in granting reasonable pecuniary compensation as well, in all cases where the 
aiew extra-mural plots were of less value than the old sites. 

The fire of 1803 was in reality a blessing in disguise ; for it accelerated the foundation 
of that settlement, which gradually grew into the City of Bombay. The Hornby Vellard and 
smaller dams bad provided the necessary ground ; the conflagration resulted in the conversion of 
that ground to a practical purpose. Milburn in his '' Oriental Commerce " gives the following 
sketch of the old town, as it appeared between 1803 and 1808: — ^"Between the two marine 
gates is the castle called Bombay Castle, a regular quadrangle, well built of strong hard stones. 
In one of the bastions is a large tank or reservoir for water. The fortifications are numerous, 
particularly towards the sea, and are so well constructed, the whole being encompassed by a 
broad and deep ditch, which can be flooded at pleasure, that it is. now one of the strongest places 
the Company have in India. Besides the Castle are several forts and redoubts, the principal 
of which is Mahim situated at the opposite extremity of the island, so that, properly garrisoned, 
Bombay may bid defiance to any force that can be brought against it. In the centre of the town 
is a large open space, called the Green, which in the fine weather season, is covered with bales of 
ootton, and other merchandise entirely unprotected ; around the Green are many large well-built 
and handsome houses ; the Government house and the Church, which is an extremely neat, 
commodious and airy building, are close to each other on the left of the Church Gate. On the 
right of the Church Gate is the Bazar, which is very crowded and populous and where the 
native merchants principally reside. At its commencement stands the theatre, a neat handsome 
structure. This part of the town suffered much by a destructive fire, which broke out in Febru- 
ary 1803 and destroyed nearly three-fourths of the Bazar, together with the barracks custom- 
house and many other public buildings, and property of immense value' belonging to the native 
merchants. Many houses in the neighbourhood of the Castle were battered down by the- Artil- 
lery to stop the progress of the flames, and preserve the magazine, or in all probability the 
whole town would have been destroyed. Since the fire of 1803 this part of the town has been 
Tebuilt, and the whole much improved, at a considerable expense to the Company. " 

The Governorship of Jonathan Duncan will ever be remarkable, if for no other reason, 
for the construction of the Sion Causeway, which connected the island with Salsette. The doom 
of the old ferry-boat service was sealed in 1798, when the work was begun under the supervision 
of Mr Robert Nicholson. In 1799 we find mention thereof made in connection with a severe 
storm 'which swept over the island in the month of November. « I have further the satisfaction to 
inform you," writes the Engineer, "that during the late severe storm, in which it may be 
supposed the water was very much agitated, not a single stone was displaced. » The causeway 
was completed in the year 1803, and must have proved of incalculable benefit to the migratory 
portion of the island's population. 



Before finally quitting this subject, we would call attention to one or two of the more- 
noteworthy buildings of this epoch. The Colaba Light-house, which was completed by the year- 
1772, is noticed by Milburn in the following paragraph :—" Close to Bombay, separated 
only by a small creek fordable at low water, is Colaba or Old Woman's Island, which partly 
forms the north side of the harbour. It is about 2| miles long. Near its southern extremity 
stands the light-house. This building is of a circular form, and has within it a flight of 
steps to ascend to the top ; the height is upwards of 150 feet above the level of the sea, and- 
the light may be seen in clear weather the distance of seven leagues. There is also a signal 
station where a regular watch is kept day and night, the expense of which is defrayed by a. 
rate levied on all vessels frequenting the port. On this island are barracks for the military, and 
occasionally a camp is formed here, being esteemed a healthy situation. It has many delightful 
villas scattered about. The point of Colaba on which the Light-house stands, is guarded on all 
sides by an extensive reef of rocks, divided into prongs ; the most dangerous is the S.-W. prong,, 
which forms the northern boundary of the entrance into the harbour, and Tull Reef the 
southern. The breadth oC the channel between the prongs and Tull reef is about three iniles." 

For many years there bad been complaints about the inconvenience of the Town Jail,, 
which after 1745 was situated in the Marine Yard. " This building, the County Jail," wrote 
the Civil Auditor in 1798, " would be very valuable, if laid into the Marine Yard. And I do 
not see any necessity for having a prison within the fort. The present one has been often and 
very justly complained of for not affording snflELcient accommodation to the prisoners. " In 
1799, therefore, a plot of ground was purchased at Umavkhadi, upon which the present 
Common Jail was built. An inscription on the western gateway of the enclosure shows that r 
" This Gaol was built during the administration of the Honourable Jonathan Duncan, Esquire,. 
1804. " 

Mr. Hornby's house in Marine Street, whi'ch forms another landmark, was used till the 
opening of the nineteenth century as an Admiralty House ; for, as the Bombay Government 
explained, it was "necessary to. provide a proper house for the accommodation of the Commander- 
in-Chief of the fleet in India, and there was no other in the place either in point of situation or 
convenience or in other respect so well adapted for his residence. " But in 1800 the main 
building was reserved for the accommodation of the newly established Recorder's Court, a small, 
portion being utilized as a store-room for the Admiralty furniture. 

Another building, which has given its name to a portion of the Island, was the Cooper- 
age, described in 1759 as "ashed the coopers work in." The erection in 1781 of proper 
Cooperage buildings on the Esplanade resulted from a recommendation by Rear Admiral Sir 
Edward Hughes to the effect that, " As the Company furnish warehouses for the reception of 
salt provisions sent to this place for the service of his Majesty's squadron, and as much incon- 
venience has arisen to the inhabitants residing in the garrison from the necessary surveying 
repacking and repickling the said provisions, I am of opinion that lodging such provisions in a 
dry well-built shed or in a house erected on the Apollo Ground, walled round and tiled on the 
roof, would relieve the inhabitants from the much-complained-of stench, arising from doinw 
what is absolutely necessary for the preservation of the salt provisions. " In consequence of the- 
Admiral's letter, Government decided to erect "a proper shed on the Apollo Ground for the 
reception of the King's provisions. " 

Of some interest in those years must have been the house, long since pulled down, which 
^^as occupied by the Duke of Wellington in 1801-2. A correspondent of the Bomlay Times- 
wrote the following account of it in 1856 :— " It is a mere hut of a place, such as a subaltern of 
the Bombay Army would perhaps turn up his nose at, and think only fit for servants or for a 
stable. It is situated between the road and the sea at the curve of the Bay (Back Bay) towards- 
Malabar Hill, close to where the road from Byculla turns into the Breach road from the Fort. 
It is in the middle of a wood yard, and in fact cannot be mistaken. " This explanation will be 
clearer to modern minds by remembering that "the road from Byculla " corresponds to the- 
" Gamdevi Road " of the twentieth century. 


The increase of population, which had taken place by the year 1814, was in great measure- 
due to the political and internal progress, which we have briefly delineated. But it is doubtful 
whether military achievements, protection of trade and good government, could by themselves 
have ensured an increase of 67,000. It is a recorded fact that in 1812 the population of Bom- 
bay was 235,000, and that of the whole number 20,000 at least were famine refugees, and we 
incline to the belief that in 1814 also, there were on the island a considerable number of persona 
who, originally driven hither by the great famine of 1803, had decided not to return to their 
homes in the Konkan or Deccan, but to seek such new means of subsistence, as were afforded by 
a thriving and well-governed settlement. Many no doubt returned to their villages, when the 
stress was over, as they do in these later days ; but many must have remained and contributed 
by their presence to the total of 180,000. Of that memorable famine one catches a glimpse in the 
*' Oriental Memoirs. " " What infinite advantage, " says the writer, " what incalculable benefits 
must accrue from a wise and liberal administration over those extensive realms which now 
form part of the British Empire, is not for me to discuss. What immense good was done by the 
wise policy of the Bombay Government alone during a late famine, wo learn from the address of 
Sir James Mackintosh to the Grand Jury of that Island in 1804. No other language than his 
own can be adopted on this interesting subject. It indirectly points out the object I have often 
mentioned, the amelioration of the natives of India by the introduction of religion, laws, art,, 
science and civilisation, in their best and most comprehensive sense. The upright and able- 
Magistrate, after descanting upon famine in general, enters into the particulars of that in the 
Konkan, occasioned by a partial failure of the periodical rains in 1802, and from a complete 
failure in 1803, from whence, he says, a famine has arisen in the adjoining provinces of India^ 
especially in the Maratha territories, which I shall not attempt to describe, and which, I believe, 
no man can truly represent to the European public without the hazard of being charged with 
extravao-ant and incredible fiction. Some of you have seen its ravages. All of you have heard 
accounts of them from accurate observers. I have only seen the fugitives who have fled before 
it and have found an asylum in this island. But even I have seen enough to be convinced that 
it is difficult to overcharge a picture of Indian desolation. I shall now state from authentia 
documents what has been done to save these territories from the miserable condition of the 
neighbouring country. From 1st September 1803 to the present time, October 1804, there 
have been imported or purchased by Government 414,000 bags of rice, and there remain 
ISO 000 bags contracted for, which are yet to arrive. * * * * The effects of this 
importation on the population of our territories, it is not very difl&cult to estimate. The 
population of Bombay, Salsette, Karanja and of the city of Surat I designedly under- 
estimate at 400,000. I am entitled to presume that if they had continued subject to native 
Governments, they would have shared the fate of the neighbouring provinces which still are 
so subject. I shall not be suspected of any tendency towards exaggeration, by any man who 
is acquainted with the state of the opposite continent, when I say that in such a case an eighth 
of that population must have perished. Fifty thousand human beings have, therefore, been 
saved from death in its most miserable form by the existence of a British Government in this 
'sland ***** The next particular which I have to state relates 

to those unhappy refugees, who have found their way into our territory. From the month 
of March to the present month of October, such of them as could labour, have been employed 
in useful public works and have been fed by Government. The monthly average of these 
persons since March is 9,125 in Bombay, 3,162 in Salsette, and in Surat a considerable number, 
though from that city I have seen no exact returns. * * * * * * 

Upon the whole I am sure that I considerably understate the fact in saymg that the British 
Government in this island has saved the lives of 100,000 persons, and what is more important 
that it has prevented the greater part of the misery through which they must have passed, 
before they found refuge in death; besides the misery of all those who loved them or who 
depended on their care. " One cannot help thinking that the beneficent attitude of our Govern- 
ment towards the starving immigrants of those years formed a direct inducement to the latter 
to remain upon the island, and that had there been no famine to drive them hither in the first 
instance, our population would not have increased to quite so great an extent. 


The trading communities were steadily advancing in numbers during these years, and 
were settling in localities outside the fortifications, and as near the docks as possible. From 
1803 onwards, dwelling-houses, godowns, shops, and markets began to rise, the original nucleus 
of oiir Mandvi, Chakla and Oomerkharry sections. The present Secretary of the " Dassa 
Oswal Jain " Community informs us that by 1800 there were some six or eight families of 
that class, settled in what we now know as Dongri Street ; and that in immediately succeeding 
years, there were fresh arrivals from Cutch, tempted to the island by the prospect of fair 
trade, who bought land, built houses, and generally laid the foundations of one of the most 
prosperous of our modern commercial classes. The Parsis were in no wise behindhand : a 
oonsiderable list of names, which it would be but tedious to recall, has been handed down to 
us, proving that the ancestors of several families, well-known in these days, were in Bombay 
by the year 1814. Lavji's grandson, Jamshedji Wadia, was carefully guarding the reputation 
which his sire and grandsire had bequeathed, and earning the golden opinions of the ruling 
body by building first class frigates for the Indian Marine, and stout vessels for such friendly 
powers as the Imam of Muscat. The Jdn-i-Bamlai (i. e., the Soul of Bombay), a Persian 
pamphlet written in 1818 by an anonymous Mughal scribe, speaks of the Memons as sellers of 
fuel, and of one " Abba Fateh Muhammad " as the headman of that community. The Khojas 
are also mentioned as haw kers of parched rice. Notwithstanding that the Bohras and other 
Mabommedan communities were permitted to reside within the Fort, a considerable number of 
*' Moors " mast, by the close of this period, have gathered round the four main " bandars" or ports 
of the Island, namely, the Bori Bandar (now the Victoria Railway Terminus), the Koli Bandar 
or Gowli Bandar, the Masjid Bandar, and the Chinch Bandar. Tho two latter have given their 
names to well-known modern localities. The situation of those Mahommedan cemeteries and 
shrines also, which existed at the close of this period, point perliaps to the gradual dispersion 
of the community over the face of tho island. Our unknown Persian historian tells of burial- 
grounds at Sonapur, Oomerkhari, Khetwadi, Tarradi and Mahim ; and gives the following 
lengthy list of shrines upon the island : — 

(i) The shrine of the Saint Makhdum Fakih Ali. 

(ii) „ „ „ Sheikh Misri at Sewri. 

(iii) ,, „ „ Sayad Badruddin in the Bhendy Bazaar, 

(iv) „ ,, „ Sayads Nizamnddin and Muhiuddin in Oomerkhari. 

(v) „ ,, „ Sayad Aahik Shah in Dongri. 

(vi) ,, ,. ,, Sayad Hussein Idrua in Sat-Tar — (hodie Satar Street). 

(Vii) ,. „ „ Sayad Hisamuddin at Do-Tar — (». «., Don Tad, modern Dontar). 

(viii) ,, „ „ Sana Shah in Cowasji Patel's garden. 

(ix) ,, „ „ Pedro Shah (a Portuguese convert who on conversion to Islam obtained 
the honour of sacrosanctity), on the ' maidan ' (t. e., the Esplanade, 
north of the modern Gr. I. P. Railway Terminus). 

(s) „ ., „ Bismillah Shah, adjoining the Fort walls (i. e., to the east of modern 

Victoria Terminus), 

(xi) The " Chilla » of Shah Dawat in Kumbharwada. 

(xii) The two " Chillas " o£ Shah Madar, one in Sat Tar, and one near the Bhendy Bazaar, 

(xiii) The shrine of Shah Hasan Ghazati near the light-house, 
(xiv) „ „ „ Shah Hussein Ghazdti at Moba (?). 
(xt) „ „ I, Sheikh Momin Barkat near Barkat Bazaar. 

That the foundations of our modern city were laid in these years, will appear more clearly 
by reference to the numbers of persons actually resident within the Fort. A survey of the Fort 
population was made in 1813, whence it appeared that 10,801 persons were dwelling within the 
walls. Of these 250 were English, 5,464 were Parsis, 4,061 Hindus, 775 Moors, 146 Portuguese 
and 105 were Armenians. On deduction of these figures from the total population of the island, 
one may assume that the extra-mural population was roughly 170,000 ; and allowing twenty or 
thirty thousand persons to the Mahim district, it seems probable that there were about one 
hundred and thirty or one hundred and forty thousand resident between the Bazar Gate in the 
south and the Parel village and the Mahalakshmi temple in the north. 

A few remarks upon the commercial circumstances of the Island will form a suitable 
epilogue to the history of the period. Up till the year 1813, as we learn from Maclean and 
other writers, the Bast India Company retained exclusive possession of trade, private persons 


being allowed to indulge in commerce only with the Company's license. " Private enterprise 
had little or no chance in Bombiy at a time when the Company and its servants had the pick of 
the trade ; and Milburn gives the following as a complete list of independent European firms : — 

Bruce, Fawcett <S Go. , 

Forbes & Co. 

Shotton & Co. 

John Leckie. 

S. Beaufort. 

Baxter, Son & Co. 

John Mitchell & Co. 

WooUer A Co. 

R. McLean & Co, 

The commanders and officers of the Company's ships employed Parsi dubashes or agents 
to manage their investments. The tonnage of the merchant ships in 1811, was 17,593 tons, 
some of the ships carrying 1,000 tons, and the largest class could take a cargo of 4,000 bales 
of cotton. There was only one Insurance Office, the Bombay Insurance Society, with a capital 
of 20 lakhs ; but much underwriting was done by private persons." 

Notwithstanding the restrictive effect of a monopoly, which certainly contributed, con- 
jointly with the subversion of the Moghal Empire, to a decline in the trade of Surat, Bombay 
attained increasing importance as a trade-centre, and appeared to Milburn, at the commencement 
of the eighteenth century, likely to prove the most durable of all the English possessions in India. 
We read of imports between 1802 and 1806 valued at £2,400,000, and of exports worth 
£1,928,000 ; of cotton exported to China in 1805, worth Sicca Rupees 64,73,639 ; of goods and 
treasure exported between 1792 and 1809 of the aggregate value of £2,851,006. 

But in 1818 a change was introduced into commercial conditions by the passing of Lord 
Melville's Bill, which abolished the exclusive trade of the Company with India, securing to it 
for twenty years longer the monopoly of the trade with China. The removal of old privileges 
gave great encouragement to the island's commerce, particularly to the export trade to England 
in raw cotton, which rose from 30 million lbs. in 1809 to 90 million lbs. in 1816. What would 
those old adventurers, Ralph Fitch and John Newbury, have thought, had they been alive in 
these year's and witnessed the opportunities for trade, wherein all might, if they so wished, 
equally participate. They, after tedious overland jonrney in 1583, had met with but a poor 
welcome, and learned more of Portuguese jails than of the spices, ivory and fine stuffs of India. 

By the year 1814 the circumstances of Bombay were most favourable. Military and 
political prestige had been acquired ; trade was expanding ; progress in domestic matters was 
assured • and these three facts produced so favourable an impression upon those communities, 
■which recognised or had learnt by experience the inherent weaknesses of Maratha dominion, 
that increase of population and occupation of hitherto waste areas bid fair lo be simply a question 
of time. 


Period the Seventh. — 1814 to 1838. 

On two occasions during the period lasting from 1814 to 1838, estimates of the Bombay- 
population were recorded. In 1830, according to Lagrange, the numbers on the Island had 
risen from 180,000 to 229,000 : by 1836, they had again increased to 236,000. The latter 
date should, strictly speaking, form the close of the period : but, on the supposition that a 
period of two years would not have largely affected the total of 1836, and in consideration also 
of the fact that Sir Robert Grant's retirement in 1838 constitutes a more natural conclusion to 
a fresh chapter, it is proposed to extend the boundary of our survey to the latter date. The 
lapse of roughly two additional years cannot have added more than a few hundred — if indeed 
any increase whatever occurred — to the total of 236,000 recorded against the year 1836. 


The political history of the period under review is remarkable for the final extinction of 
piracy on the Western Coast of India, and for the dethronement of the dynasty of Peshvas. We 
have already reviewed the steps taken to undermine the power of the pirates in the preceding 
period. " Those arrangements, " remarks Maclean, " led of course to disorders and insurrections 
among the turbulent classes of the population ; and the final blow was not given to the pirates 
of Kathiawar till 1819, when a British force under Colonel Stanhope escaladed Dwarka and 
put the whole garrison, who refused to ask for quarter, to the sword. " Thus a just retribution 
overtook them, who had for many a long year terroi-ised the peaceful merchants of Surat and 
Bombay; the last of the Rover galleys, "a goodly and imposing-looking vessel, having a lofty 
poop and beaked rostrum " lay high and dry upon the shores ; and Beyt, the Robber's Isle, 
was bereft for ever of its chieftain, who preferred the prospect of peace and a pension, to the 
chance of amassing more wealth by acts of violence against the subjects of a nation, which had 
already proved its superiority to the Native powers of Western India. 

Baji Rao, the Peshva, had been restored to his throne at Poena on the 13th May 1803 ; 
and up till the j'ear 1817 remained ostensibly an allyof the English, to whose intervention he 
owed his restoration. But, " a prince who is called independent, but who knows that his 
authority depends on the good will of a Political Resident and a body of foreign troops, must be 
endowed with rare magnanimity if he does not both oppress his own subjects and chafe under 
the limitations placed on his sovereign power to make war and conclude treaties with other 
States. The consciousness that he is protected by a force strong i-nough to keep him on the 
throne, in spite of all the efforts of discontented subjects, removes the only curb — the dread of 
rebellion— which restrains an unprincipled despot from gratifying to the utmost the evil passions 
of cruelty, lust and covetousness ; while, at the same time a restored tyrant, in nine cases ou\ of 
ten, resents his obligations to the foreigners who have given him back his kingdom, feeling that 
he is but a puppet in their hands, when they keep him from indulging his ambition in warlike 
enterprises, and bid him be content to stay at home and be absolute master of the lives and 
fortunes of his own people. " The thirteen years which elapsed from the date of Baji Rao's 
restoration to his open declaration of hostilities, are replete with instances of the grossest tyranny 
against his own people, and at the same time of treacherous intrigue .igainst his European 
defenders. Neglect of the civil administration, accumulation of personal gain by sequestration of 
estates and by extortion, both from individuals and from the general public, subject to his authority, 
led to insurrection and unrest, and rendered the continuation of his sway abhorrent to the inhabit- 
ants o£ his kingdom. Baji Rao's hostility to the English provoked him te stultify a guarantee of 
safety which the latter had granted to the Gaekwar's Agent, Gangadhar Shastri, who visited 
Poena in 1815, for the purpose of settling certain claims preferred against his master by the 
Peshva. The story of his murder by Trimbakji Danglia, of the latter's imprisonment at Thana, 
and escape in 1816, through the kind offices of " a Maratha horse-keeper, who sang in an appa- 
rently careless manner outside Triinbakji's cell, the information which would help him to escape," 
needs but passing reference. No sooner was the infamous minister back in Poena, than we find 
Baji Rao allying himself with Pindari free-booters, and with Scindia, Holkar, and the Raja of 
Berar, in a confederacy to overthrow the British power. The hesitation, which formed a 
considerable element in the Peshva's character, prevented his joining issue with the English for 
some days; and the latter profited by the respite to obtain reinforcements from Bombay, which 


covered the wholo distance from Panwell to Poena with only one halt, and arrived in the 
Deccan capital on the 30th October 1817. On the 5th November was fought the Battle of Kirkee, 
the crowning-point of the straggle against Native powers, which had commenced in the latter half 
of the seventeenth century. " Those only/' quote? Maclean, " who have witnessed the Bore in the 
Gulf of Cambay, and have seen in perfection the approach of that roaring tide, can form the 
exact idea presented to the author at sight of the Peshva's army. It was towards the afternoon 
of a very sultry day ; there was a dead calm, and no sound was heard, except the rushing, the 
trampling and neighing of the horses, and the rumbling of the gun-wheels. The effect was 
heightened by seeing the peaceful peasantry flying from their work in the fields, the bullocks 
breaking from their yokes, the wild antelopies startled from sleep, bounding off and then turning 
for a moment to gaze on this tremendous inundation, which swept all before it, levelled the 
hedges and standing corn, and completely overwhelmed every ordinary barrier as it moved. " 
But the doom of Maratha misrule had been sealed ; an army of 18,000 horse and 8,C00 foot 
was powerless to save his kingdom for Baji Rao, who, from the hills overlooking the plain of 
Kirkee, watched his ranks shiver, break and flee. Accompanied by a small band of personal 
attendants, the Peshva escaped, and passed the next few months in concealment, and in attempts 
to avoid arrest by the English, who overran the Deccan anil Southern Maratha Country. 
Eventually, on discovering that his last chance of effecting anything against the English had 
passed away, he surrendered himself to Sir John Malcolm, and, renouncing for himself and his 
family all claims to sovereignty, was permitted to retire on the enormous pension of £80,000 
a year to Bithoor on the Ganges, whore he doubtless instilled into the mind of his adopted son, 
Nana Saheb, that hatred of the British, which bore such terrible fruit in the year 1857. 

Of military events, subsequent to the battle of Kirkee, of battles of Sholapur, the 
capture of Raighur, and heroic defences of Koregaon, it is unnecessary here to speak. The 
dynasty of the Peshvas was dead ; their dominions, or the major portion thereof, were annexed 
to the Company's territory in 1818. A small tract was reserved "for the comfort and dignity 
of the imprisoned Raja: of Satara, which might serve as a counterpoise to the remaining influence 
of the Brahmins, conciliate the Maratha nation, and leave an opening for the employment of 
many persons in their own way, whom, it would have been expensive to subsist, and who could 
not obtain a liveKhood under the English administration. " Kolhapur, Savantvadi and Angria's 
Colaba remained for some time longer independent Maratha principalities. 

The annexation of the Deccan is regarded by a well-known student of Bombay History 
as one of the three great events, which materially contributed to the making of our Town and 
Island of Bombay. F)-ee and uninterrupted trade between our port and the mainland, which 
had suffered greatly in the past from the jealous restrictions of the Maratha government, was 
thereby assured ; the milder sway of the British in both the Deccan and Konkan permitted the 
house-holder to journey to the coast, without fear of danger to his homestead and belongings 
during his absence, and lightened the burden of taxation, which had formerly kept him prisoner 
within the limits of his village. " The dynasty of the Peshvas, " says Maclean, ''existed only 
for seventy years, and its decay was so rapid that if the English had not dethroned Baji Rao, 
the Arab mercenaries whom the Marathas had hired to fight for them would soon have founded 
kino-doms of their own in India. So extreme was the misrule— justice being denied to every- 
one who could not use force to obtain it, while cultivators and citizens alike were ground down 
to the dust by ever-increasing taxation — that only the Court favourites and military chiefs and 
adventurers regretted the change of Government. Even the soldiere' pay was in arrears, and 
many of Baji Rao's troops entered the service of the British Govei-nment within thirty-six 
hours after the proclamation of the Peshva's dethronement. But, wtiile the rise of the English 
power must be ascribed in some degree to the radical incapacity of Hindus to do any work, 
which they undertake, thoroughly and completely, and to the more systematic and strenuous 
character of western civilisation, it should never be forgotten that the conquest of India is 
really the friiit of the incomparable fighting qualities of the British soldier. " Whatever the 
immediate cause of our success may have been, this period witnessed the final emancipation of 
our Island from the fear of attack by native powers. Throughout a century and-a-half she 
li d followed a policy, which enabled her to gradually strengthen her own hand and deal with 


surrounding foes one by one, until the last and most powerful of all fled like a hunted animal 
from his capital, and relinquished his down-trodden subjects to her meroy and protection. 
Having thus gained the supremacy by the close of the second decade of the eighteenth century, 
she set her face steadily towards the improvements necessary to raise her to the proud position 
of the gateway of India. 

By good fortune, her affairs were entrusted to a man of genius at the very moment 
when supreme prudence and statecraft were necessary for the repair of damages caused by 
centuries of desultory warfare. Mountstuart Elphinstone, who took up the reius of Government 
on the 1st November 1819, fostered so vigorously the expansion of trade, the moderate and 
uniform settlement of revenues, and the education of the people, that Bishop Heber was moved 
to declare in 1827 that " on this side of India there is really more zeal and liberality displayed 
in the improvement of the country, the construction of roads and public buildings, the con- 
ciliation of the natives and their education, than I have yet seen in Bengal. " " His policy, " 
wrote the Bishop elsewhere, " so far as India is concerned, appeared to me peculiarly wise and 
liberal ; and he is evidently attached to, and thinks well of, the country and its inhabitants. 
His public measures, in their general tendency, evince a steady wish to improve their present 
condition. No Government in India pays so much attention to schools and public institutions 
for education. In none are the taxes lighter, and in the administration of justice to the natives in 
their own languages, in the establishment of panchayats, in the degree in which he employs 
the natives in official situations, and the countenance and familiarity he extends to all the 
natives of rank who approach him, he seems to have reduced to practice almost all the reforms 
which had struck me as most required in the system of Government pursued in those provinces 
of our Eastern Empire which I had previously visited. " 

One noteworthy improvement of this period, which must have greatly assisted the 
intercourse of the inhabitants of the Deecan with our island, was the construction of a oood 
carriage road up the Bhore Ghat. As early as 1803 Wellesley had constructed a road, for the 
benefit of his transport, which had been designedly destroyed by the Peshva ; and one of the 
earliest orders of the Hon'ble Mountstuart Elphinstone resulted from the need of easy commu- 
nication between the Konkan and the country above the Ghats. By the time Bishop Heber, 
whose experience of the journey from Bombay to Poena is quoted- in Maclean's Guide, was 
resident in this island, a passably good road had been constructed. " From Campoolee," he 
writes, " I walked up the Bhore Ghat 4^ miles to Khandalla, the road still broad and good 
but in ascent very steep, so much so indeed that a loaded carriage, or eveu a palanquin with 
anybody in it, can with great difRoulty be forced along it. In fact, every one walks or 
rides up the hills, and all merchandise is conveyed on bullocks and horses. The ascent might, 
I think, have been rendered by an able engineer much more easy. But to have carried a 
road over these hills at all, considering how short a time they have been in our power is 
highly creditable to the Bombay Government. " The work thus begun by Elphinstone was 
completed by his successor. Sir John Malcolm, who refers in the following words to the 
achievement. " On the 10th November 1830 I opened the Bhore Ghat, which, thouo'h not 
■quite completed, was sufficiently advanced to enable me to drive down with a party of gentle- 
men in several carriages. It is impossible for me to give a correct idea of this splendid work 
which may be said to break down the wall between the Konkau and Deecan. It will give 
facility to commerce, be the greatest of conveniences to troops and travellers, and lesson the 
expense of European and other articles to all who reside in the Ueccan. This road will 
positivel}' prove a creation of revenue. " 

Better communication by sea was as eagerly sought during this period as increased 
facilities for travelling by land. Maclean tells us that as early as 1830 a project had been 
started for regular communication with England by steamers navigating the Red Sea and 
the Mediterranean. Sir John Malcolm wrote on April 30th, 1830 : — '' I do hope this 
steam navigation will be pushed through. It will make a revolution in many tin'nos to 

great advantage. Though I cannot understand that a scheme upon the scale Mr. T r- 

proposes will answer at present, one of a more moderate nature could not fail • and I must. 


think that individual enterprise will do more in such a case than Government ever can; 
But should the jes,loasy of your Post Office in England regarding the Mediterranean, or the 
desire to keep the Red Sea navigation under our own control, lay a cold hand upon the 
project of individuals, let us be supported in our efforts to maintain this intercourse in an 
efficient manner." In the closing year of this period — 1838 — regular monthly communication 
between Bombay and England by the overland route was established. In the Asiatic 
Jownal of July 1838 wo read that, " The Governor in Council has been pleased to sanction 
the following arrangements for the conveyance, from the Red Sea to Bombay of the English 
Mails of June, July, August and September. The June packet will be brought by the 
new schooner just launched. The July packet will be brought by the Palinurus. The 
August packet will be brought by tha second new schooner which is now being built. 
The September mail may be expected to arrive at Suez by the 2nd October ; if a steamer 
cannot be sent for it, it will be brought to Bombay by the Euphrates." In the following 
month an anonymous contributor to the same journal remarks that " The intelligence which 
we have just received by the Atalanta is the quickest • which has ever reached India. 
London news to March 5th reached Bombay in forty-three days, and Calcutta in fifty-jix 
days. How easily might the communication betwen Calcutta and London be fixed at 
fifty days ! " Between Bombaj- and Suez, apparently, the mails were carried by steamers 
of the Indian Navy : but their further conveyance beyond Suez, was often a matter of some 
uncertainty. " In 1838," says Maclean, '' the Bombay Chamber of Commerce recorded an 
'explanation by Mr. Waghorn of the cause of delay in the transmission to Bombay of the 
portion of the June mail addressed to his care, and suggested that the commanders of the 
•Company's vessels should be instructed to wait a few hours at Suez, after the receipt 
of packets, whenever it may be ascertained that others are on their way and may within a short 
time be expected at that place. " We of this kter tiaste can scarcely realise the tedium of that 
journey by the overland mail, the track boat on the Nilo, and the vans that crawled across 
the desert from Cairo to Suez. Waghorn worked indefatigably for the amelioration of the 
service urging the steam Committees of Bengal, Madras and Bombay to subscribe money 
for two iron tag steamers and accommodation boats on the Nile, so as to save three days 
in the transit through Egypt and his labours undoubtedly served in the making our island 
more habitable, and increasing its importance during these years. 

Expansion of trade necessarily followed the settlement of the interior. About 1825 the 
exports from Bombay became considerable ; while from 1832 onwards a rise in the price of Ameri- 
can cotton which was caused by the operations of the bankers of the United States, resulted in 
increased imports of Indian cotton into England. Indeed, between 1835 and 183t;, these imports 
-expanded by the enormous total of one million bales. No better proof of our progress in this 
respect is forthcoming than the foundation in 1836 of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce, 
which as Maclean remarks, owed its existence to the increase in the numbers of the independent 
European population subsequent to the year 1830, and « which has since taken an important 
share in the formation of public opinion and the direction of affairs." 

The spirit of progress, by which this period is characterised, led to alterations and 
improvements within the Iknits of our Island, of which the most remarkable was the construction 
of the Colaba Causeway in 1838. Colaba and Old Woman's Island formed, as we have seen, the 
only remaining vestiges of old Ptolemy's Heptanesia, and were the last of the seven to be 
absorbed into the island of Bombay. Since the year 1743, when Mr. Broughton rented the island 
for Rs 200 per annum, both Colaba and Old Woman's Island had gradually been built over ; and 
in im "enquiries were instituted as to several houses built at Colaba, and it was declared that 
V vernment never intended that houses of permanent construction should be built on the island, 

V h was a place for Cantonment for the troops." At the time of which we write, the widow of 
General Waddington held Colaba on a yearly tenure, though the buildings erected by her husband 
were considered as military quarters in the possession of Government. The island, which con- 

• ed no very great number of private dwellings, and was occasionally the scene of robbery and 
house-breaking, is described by the Abb6 Oottineau do Kloguen in 1827 as follows :-« J'ai et6 



me promener avec le fere Augustin i. I'lle de Cukba qui n'est separ^ de colle de Bombay que- 
dans la maree haute, et alors on y passe en bateau : c'eat sur cette ile, que Ton appelle aussi I'lIe 
de la vieille femme, qu'est la tour d'eau ou le fanal a son extremite meridionale ; c'est la aussi la. 
nouvelle ^glise que Ton veut me donner k desserrir, et que j'aurais bien voulu voir; mais comme 
il 4lait trop tard, nons ne sommes allds que jusqu' i un petit hospice qu'on habite un Keligieux 
de St. Augustin de Goa,et qui y dessert un oratoire pour les Portugais de Culaba." The church,, 
to which the Abb6 refers, is the Koman Catholic Church of St. Joseph, which was consecrated on 
the 27th Januaiy 1828 by the Bishop of Antiphile. Ten years later the causeway was built, and 
the welding together of the seven pristine islands was an accomplished fact. By the close of the- 
period Mrs. Postans was able to remark that " The island of Colabah is a pretty retired spot, whose 
dullness is redeemed by the health-inspiring breezes, which play around its shores ; a good road" 
runs to its extreme end on which stands the light-house, and the lunatic asylum. The Queen's 
6th Regiment is at present stationed there, and many families reside on the island, who prefer such 
quiet to the gaieties of the sister land. In truth, until late improvements were considered neces- 
sary, few residences could be so inconvenient, for any but the very quiet, as Angria's Colaba(?)' 
A rocky sort of way about a mile in length connected this tongue of land with Bombay, which at 
high tide was covered with the rolling flood. Many havo been the luckless wights, who, returning 
from a festive meeting, heedless of Neptune's certain visit, have found the curling waves beating 
over their homeward path, compelling them to seek again " the banquet hall deserted," and beg 
a shake-down at the quarters of their host. The more impetuous have sought to swim their 
horses across this dangerous pass, and lives have been lost in the attempt. This inconvonience, 
so severely felt, led at length to the erection of a solid and handsome vallade, with a footpath 
protecting the elevated and level road." The junction of Colaba and Bombay was followed 
almost immediately by " commercial speculation in recovering a certain portion of ground for- 
building factories, wharfs, and the greater facility of mercantile operations." " This scheme," 
says a writer in the Monthly Miscellany of 1850, " has since proved a miserable failure ; but 
property in Colaba at one time worthless now rose some five hundred per cent, in value, lani 
was purchased wherever procurable, and houses raised in every possible locality." 

.North of Colaba, also, improvements were carried out. We hear of the Wellington Pier 
or Apollo Bunder being extended and brought into use for passenger traffic in the year 1819.. 
" The new bunder run out from the Esplanade," as it was then termed, was probably subjected 
to further extension before the close of the period ; for Mrs. Postans relates in 1838 that '' on 
landing either at the new Apollo or the Customs House bunders, hamals bearing palanqutns 
rich in green paint and silken curtains, entreat the custom of the new arrival." The Elphinstone 
High School and the Elphinstone College both had their origin in these years ; the former was- 
established in 1822 under its original title of the Native Education Society's School ; the fonnd- 
ing of the latter resulted from a meeting of the same society, held on the 22nd August 1827,, 
to consider the most appropriate testimonial to the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone on his 
resignation of the Government of Bombay. By 1835 the first Elphinstone Professors had 
arrived and commenced their work in the Town Hall. The proposal to build a Town Hall 
had originated with Sir James Mackintosh in 1811, "the object in view being to provide a 
suitable building for public meetings and entertainments, and also to make a home for the 
library and museum of the literary society, and for the reception of statues and public 
monuments of British art." Lotteries were established, one in 1812, another in 1823 in 
the hope of raising sufficient funds for the buildings, a site for which was obtained from 
the Directors of the Company in 1817 : but eventually it was found necessary to hand over the 
work, commenced in 1821, to Government, who provided funds for its completion in 1833. This 
period also witnessed the erection of a new Mint. The first stone M'as laid on 1st January 1825 • 
the machinery was working in December 1827, and three years later coining was commenced 
"We hear of the old Church in the Eort being consecrated in 1816 in honour of St, Thomas " the 
Apostle, who fii-st brought the gospel to India, " and gazetted as the Cathedral of the diocese in 
1838, our Island having been raised to the dignity of a bishopric in 1835. We read of a new 
presbyterian church of St. Andrew in the Fort, constructed in 1818, and endowed with an orean 
in 1825 : of " a thatched building got up at Colaba in 1825 for the spiritual welfare of the soldiers 


in the Cantonment there, and called St. Mary's Church : " of Christ Church, Byoulla, consecrated 
in 1835 for the special benefit of those children, who belonged to the Protestant school, originally 
founded by the Eeverend liiohard Cobbe within the Fort, but removed in 1825 to the building 
which we all know as the Byoulla Education Society's Schools. From 1817 onwards there arfr 
continual references in the Government records to the building of a new Hospital, to be situated in 
Hornby Row, until on the 25th January 1825, the Directors informed the Bombay Government 
that, " as the majority of the members of your Government were of opinion that a new hospital 
as described in your letter of April 30th, 1825, was necessary, we shall not object to your resolu- 
tion for erecting it." 

Not only in the Fort was the face of the land undergoing change. The town was 
creeping gradually over the reclaimed higher grounds, westward along Back Bay, and northward 
to Byoulla, so that by 1835 it became imperative to construct new communications. One of the 
first and most noteworthy was that great main road, named after Governor Grant, and constructed 
during his term of office, which to this day links Byculla with the palm-groves of Chowpatty. 
Mr. James Douglas tells of country-houses at Mazagon ; of four bungalows at Malabar Hill j of 
the Market, Mandvi, Oomerkhadi and Bhuleshvar, providing homes for a constantly increasing 
population. Another writer, speaking of the fragile residences which people constructed on the 
Esplanade during the fair season, mentions " the groups of pakka built and handsome houses, 
to be found at Girgaum, Byculla, Ohinchpoogly and other places. " Government House,. 
Malabar Point, the original residence of Sir John Malcolm, was in use as a hot-weather residence 
by the close of the period. Another well-known edifice was the Pinjara Pole or home for aged 
and diseased animals, which was " erected by a Parbhu in the office of Messrs. Forbes and 
Company, who had amassed considerable wealth with the object of devoting it to charitable 
purposes. " By the close of the period there were two large bazaars in the Fort — ^the China- 
Bazaar and the Thieves Bazaar, the latter being " crowded with warehouses, whence European 
articles were disposed of at a small profit ; " and three great bazaars in the Native 
Town, " from which branch innumerable cross roads, each swarming with its busy crowds. 
During the last few years, the leading roads of the native town have been watered and even 
tolerably lighted. This has proved very advantageous, after all the inconveniences which 
attended the old system of dust and darkness ; it is still, however, only for an hour or two after 
sunrise that horsemen or carriages can pass unimpeded by stoppages of varied character. The 
most profitable trade carrie 1 on in these bazaars is the sale of toddy ; to so considerable an extent 
has the general use of this intoxicating beverage increased, that Government have been con- 
strained to issue an order, forbidding the existence of toddy stores within a regulated distance of 
each other. On a moderate computation, however, every sixth shop advertises its sale." The 
native town may be considered to have comprised roughly a portion of the modern C Ward, 
most of B Ward, Byculla, Mazagon and Kamathipura, where the Kamathis had some years be- 
fore made their first settlement, and was just commencing to creep westward over the modem 
areas of Dhobi Talao, Girgaum, Chowpatty and Khetwadi. Parel was fairly populated, but had 
not yet been metamorphosed into tho hive of industry, which we know. Sion, Sewri and Mahim 
contained probably much the same proportion of our inhabitants as they had in the preceding 
neriod Matunga, once a pretty artillery station, was deserted. " Graceful boughs of shady trees," 
remarks the author of 1838, "droop upon the broken roofs of crumbling dwellings; gaudy blos- 
„,= cnrl the naler 'moonflower' peep from amid the fallen stones; and gardens, once gay in 
'bloom and fruitage bright' are tangled and overgrown with thorns. Matunga is now aoan- 
doned • the demon of disease claimed for his own, and, under the insidious form of • Draounculus, ' 
worked havoc among the troops. The prevalence of this disease caused either by the badness 
of the water, or some less suspected cause, formed abundant reason for the desertion of this 
lovely spot as a military station." 

Of the different communities or castes, which together formed our total population of 
236 000 no distinct list is in existence ; though, here and there, reference is made by con- 
temporary documents to distinct classes of the people. The Parsis appear to have been ubiqui- 
tons for we read of the representative of the Wadias" residing at Lowjee Castle, on the road 


leading from the main road up to Government House"; of " thd Parei gentry owning beautiful 
country houses, which are scattered about the island, at various distances from the native town "; 
and of Jehangir Nassarvanji, " who vends goods of all descriptions from purple velvet to raspberry 
jam. " The Jews and their Eabbis are mentioned ; the Armenians are spoken of as wearing the 
persian dress, and dyeing their hair and whiskers with henna. " Armenian ladies," adds the 
writer, '' pass their time either engaged in the care of their families, or in receiving and paying 
visits drinking coffee or sherbet, embroidering and making delicious confections of Hulwah 
and various sweetmeats. They have very considerable influence in their families, imderstand 
business admirably, and are commonly entrusted with the full control of their own 
property. Their condition is easy and agreeable, little restraint being placed upon their 
conduct • a slight degree of personal seclusion being considered honourable and dignified. " 
Our friends, the Arabs, with theiT unmistakeable head-gear, were already in Bombay, and 
offering their excellent black coffee to possible purchasers, while their silken-skinned charges can- 
tered up and down the. yard before them. '' The Arab Stables," writes Mrs. Postans, *' which 
occupy a considerable space in the great bazar, form a powerful attraction to the gentlemen of 
the Presidency." Added to Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Africans and Parsis, there were Marathas, 
Rajputs, Moghals, Banias and Hindus of many denominations, Portuguese, Persians and British — 
forming together, perhaps, the most motley assemblage in any quarter of this orb. One element 
alone was needed to put a finishing touch to the cosmopolitan character of our island : the white 
race and the dark-skinned people were dwelling side by side : surely the yellow race also had 
contributed its quota to the population ? There is no reasonable doubt that the Chinese were in 
Bombay by the close of 1838 : tradition tells of " Aho-Na and Wow-Sing, who came hither to 
dispose of silks •" of " Thow-wing," an artist • while there is a definite statement in the Asiatic 
Journal of May 1838, to the effect that certain of " the celestials" were domiciled within the 
limits of the bazar. 

The period, therefore, which extended from the year 1814 to 1838, was remarkable for a 
very decided increase of population of a heterogeneous character. The increase was engendered 
for the most part by trade-expansion, amelioration of communications and general internal 
progress, for the steady prosecution of which the success of military operations against their 
foes had afforded the Bombay Government ample leisure. So long as the supremacy of the 
English in military and political matters remained undecided, the progress of the island could 
not fail to be delayed ; but by 1820 that supremacy was assured ; and the last obstacle in the 
path of steady settlement and expansion of the population had vanished. We would close the 
tale of these four and twenty years with a quotation from an anonymous account of Bombay, 
published in the Asiatic Journal of May — August 1838. 

" In point of striking scenery, and its immediate contiguity to antiquities of the most 
interesting nature, Bombay possesses great advantages over the sister-presidencies ; but these 
are counterbalanced by inconveniences of a very serious nature, to which, in consequence of the 
limited extent of the island, many of the inhabitants must submit. Bombay harbour presents 
one of the most splendid landscapes imaginable. The voyager visiting India for the first time, 
on Hearing the superb amphitheatre, whose wood-crowned heights and rocky terraces, bright 
promontories and gem-like islands, are reflected in the broad blue sea, experiences none of the 
disappointment which is felt by all lovers of the picturesque on approaching the low, flat coast 
of Bengal, with its stunted jungle. A heavy line of hills forms a beautiful outline upon the 
bright and sunny sky ; foliage of the richest hues clothing the sides and summits of these 
towering eminences, while below, the fortress intermingled with fine trees, and the wharfs run- 
nmg out into the sea, present, altogether, an imposing spectacle, on which the eye delights 
to dwell. 

" The island of Bombay does not exceed twenty miles in circumference, and com- 
municates with that of Salsette by a causeway built across a channel of the sea which surrounds it. 
It is composed of two unequal ranges of whinstone rock, with an intervening valley about three 
miles in breadth, and in remoter times was entirely covered with a wood of cocos. The fort 
is built on the south-eastern extremity of the island, and occupies a very oonsideirable 


portion of ground, the outworks comprehending a circuit of two miles, being, indeed, so widely 
-extended, as to require a very numerous garrison. The town or city of Bombay is built 
within the fortifications, and is nearly a mile long, extending from the Apollo gate to that of 
the bazar, its breadth in some places being a quarter of a mile ; the houses are picturesque, in 
■consequence of the quantity of handsomely-carved woodwork employed in the pillars and the 
verandahs ; but they are inconveniently crowded together, and the high, conical roofs of red 
tiles are very offensive to the eye, especially if accustomed to the flat-turreted and balustraded 
palaces of Calcutta. The Government-house, which is only employed for the transaction of 
'business, holding durbars — a large, convenient, but ugly-looking building, somewhat in the 
Dutch taste — occupies one side of an open space in the centre of the town, called the Green. 
The best houses, and a very respectable church, are situated in this part of the town, and to the 
right extends a long and crowded bazar, amply stocked with every kind of merchandize. 
Many of the rich natives have their habitations in this bazar, residing in large mansions built 
after the Asiatic manner, but so huddled together as to be exceedingly hot a^nd disagreeable to 
strangers, unaccustomed to breathe so confined an atmosphere. One of the principal boasts of 
Bombay is its docks and dock-yards : they are capacious, built of fine hard stone, and are the 
work of Parsi artisans, many of whom, from their talents and industry, have risen from common 
labourers to be wealthy ship-builders. Many splendid vessels, constructed of teak wood — the 
best material for building — have been launched from these docks, which contain commodious 
^warehouses for naval stores, and are furnished with a rope-walk, which is the admiration of 
tihose who have visited the finest yards in England, being second to none, excepting that at 

"The island of Bombay, from an unwholesome swamp, has been converted into a very 
isalubrious residence ; though enough of shade still remains, the superabundant trees have been 
cut down, the marshes filled up, and the sea-breeze,which sets in every day, blows with refresh- 
ing coolness, tempering the solar heat. The native population, which is very large, has cumbered 
the ground in the neighbourhood of the fortifications with closely-built suburbs, which must be 
passed before the visitor can reach the open country beyond, at the further extremity of the 
island. The Black Town, as it is called, spreads its innumerable habitations, amidst a wood of 
ooco-ntt trees — a curious busy, bustling, but dirty quarter, swarming with men and .the inferior 
animals, and presenting every variety of character that the whole of Asia can produce. The 
coco-nut gardens, beyond this populous scene, are studded with vUlas of various descriptions, the 
buildings within the fortifications being too much crowded together to be desirable ; those 
belonging to European residents are, for the most part, merely retained as offices, the families 
-seeking a more agreeable situation in the outskirts. Comfort, rather than elegance, has been 
consulted in the construction of the major portion of these villas ; but any defalcation in external 
splendour is ainply compensated by the convenience of the interiors. » * * Those 

persons, who are compelled, by business or duty, to live in the immediate vicinity of 
Government house, only occupy the houses inside the fortifications during the rainy season • 
at other periods of the year they live in a sort of al fresco manner, peculiar to this part of 
the world. A wide Esplanade, stretching between the walls of the fort and the sea, and 
of considerable length, affords the place of retreat. At the extreme verge a fine, hard sand 
forms a delightful ride or drive, meeting a strip of grass or meadow-land, which with the 
exception of a portion marked off as the parade-ground of the troops in garrison, is covered 
^ith temporary buildings : some of these are exceedingly fantastic. Bungalows constructed of 
poles and planks, and roofed with palra-Ieaves, rise in every direction, many being surrounded 
by beautiful parterres of flowers, blooming from innumerable pots. Other persons pitch tents, 
which are often extensive and commodious, on this piece of ground, covering them over with a 
" chupper " or thatched roof, supported on slender pillars, and forming a verandah all round. 
» . # » * * 

" Of the native community, as it has been already stated, a large majority are Parsis, 
who, at a very remote period— the eighth century of the Christian era— were driven by the 
persecution of the Mahommedan conquerors of Persia, to take refuge in Hindustan. The lower 


classes of Pareis are in great request as domestics at Bombay ; they are far less intolerant in- 
their principles than either Mussalmans or Hindus, and will, therefore, perform a greater variety 
of work, and are more agreeable to live with ; but in personal appearance, they cannot compete 
with Bengal servants, whose dress and air are decidedly superior. The greater poi'tion of the 
wealth of the place is in the hands of Parsi merchants, who are a hospitable race, and though 
not extravagant, liberal in their expenditure. The houses of these persons will be found filled 
with European furniture, and they have adopted many customs and habits which remain still 
unthought of by the Mussulmans and Hindus. The women, though not jealously excluded from- 
all society, are rather closely kept ; they have no objection to occasionally receive the husbands 
of the European ladies who may visit them, but they do not mingle promiscuously with male- 
society. The Parsi females are not distinguished for their personal "appearance, being rather 
coarse and ill-favoured ; but many employ themselves in a more profitable manner than is 
usual in native women, "Work-tables fitted up after the European mode, are not unfrequently 
found in their possession ; they know how to use English implements in their embroidery, and 
they have English dressing-cases for the toilette. Considerable pains, in some instances, are- 
bestowed upon the education of the daughters, who learn to draw, and to play upon the piano * 
and one Parsi gentleman, of great wealth, contemplated the introduction of an English governess, 
for the purpose of affording instruction to the young ladies of his family. 

" The Jews are more numerous, and of a higher degree of respectability in Bombay than 
in any other part of India ; they make good soldiers, and are found in considerable numbers in 
the ranks of the native army. There are Armenians also, but not nearly so many as are settled 
in Calcutta. » * * The Portuguese inhabitants rear large quantities of poultry ; but. 
game is not plentiful on the island, in consequence of its limited extent : red-legged partridges 
are however found, and on some occasions, snipe. The European inhabitants are usually 
supplied with their fruit and vegetables from the bazaar, as there are comparatively few gardens 
attached to their houses : great quantities of the productions sold in tho markets are brought 
from the neighbouring island of Salsette, which is united to that of Bombay by a causeway — a. 
work for which the inhabitants are indebted to Governor Duncan, who constructed it over a small 
arm of the sea. This communication, which has a drawbridge in the centre, is a convenience 
both to the cultivators and to the residents of Bombay, who are thus enabled to extend and 
diversify their drives, by crossing over to Salsette. A great portion of Salsette is now under 
cultivation, the Parsis and other wealthy natives, possessing large estates on the island. 

" The favourite residence of the Governor (who has three residences upon the island)- 
is usually a villa at Malabar Point, a particularly beautiful situation, being a woody 
promontory, rising so abruptly from the sea, that its spray dashes up against th3 terraces. 
The principal residence of the Governor is at Pareil, about six miles from the city, and here 
he gives his public entertainments. It is a large handsome house, well constructed and 
appointed, having spacious apartments for the reception of Company. 

"The large Portuguese village or town of Mazagong, which is dirty and swarming- 
with pigs is, however, finely situated, occupying the shore between two hills, and is more- 
over celebrated as being the place at which the fine variety of mango, so much in request, 
was originally grown. The parent tree, whence all the grafts were taken which have supplied 
the neighbouring gardens, was said to be in existence a few years ago, a guard of sepoys 
being stationed round in the proper season to preserve its fruit from unhallowed hands. 
From these groves in the time of one of the most luxurious Moghal emperors, Shah Jehan, 
tho royal tables of Delhi were furnished with their principal vegetable attraction, couriers 
being despatched to bring the far-famed mangoes to the imperial court. Moore has alluded 
to the circumstance in " Lalla Rookh," attributing the acerbity of the critical Fadladeen's temper 
to the failure in the supply of mangoes. Mazagong-house was the residence of Sterne's Eliza ;. 
but the interest which this heroine of the ultra-sentimental school formerly excited, has become 
very much faded, and there seems to be some doubt whether her existence will be remembered 
by the next generation. 


" A great number of the poorer inhabitants of Salsette, Elephanta and the other islands 
of Bombay, subsist by fishing : cultivation is, however, extending in the interior ; and in the course 
of a few years, the influx of visitors to Bombay, which must be materially increased by 
steam-navigation to India, will doubtless direct the attention of persons desirous to colonize, to 
the purchase of land in these fertile, but somewhat neglected scenes. The various remains 
left by the Portuguese show that in their time agriculture flourished in places now reduced to 
jungle, from the usual consequences of Maratha conquest ; and although the invaders 
subsequently ceded their territories to the British Government, they have never recovered 
from the ravages committed by a people, who may with justice be styled the most destructive 
upon earth." 


Pebiod the Eighth. — 1838 to 1872. 
We have now arrived at the most important epoch in the History of the Island of 
Bombay • for, during these years the old commercial town was transformed into a royal city ; 
her population expanded to an extent, unparalleled in past eras ; and those great works of 
public convenience and adornment, which fitted her to take high rank among the most beautiful 
possessions of a world-wide empire, were by the exertions and genius of her leading men brought 
to completion. In accordance with the plan, which has guided our treatment of previous years, 
it becomes necessary to review the causes which led by 1872 to an increase of 408,405 in the 
number of Bombay's inhabitants. In 1838 the population, as we have seen, was estimated at 
236,000 : in 1872 the figure recorded by Dr. Hewlett was 644,405 ! A census of the people had 
been taken in 1864, which manifested a still larger increase : but inasmuch as that year was 
one of wholly abnormal commercial excitement, it seems advisable to disregard those figures 
for the present, and refer to them in a later paragraph dealing more directly with the details 
of population. 

For the sake of lucidity, it is desirable to sub-divide the period under review into two 
parts, the first of which will comprise the years 1838 to I860, and the second the years 1861 
to 1872 : and dealing with the earlier period first, it remains to decide whether there occurred 
therein any events, likely to influence the numerical strength of the island's inhabitants. 

The military and political events of these years cannot have exercised any very direct 
«ffect upon the population of Bombay City. The appointment of a British resident to Savant- 
vadi in 1838, the inclusion of Angria's Colaba in British territory in 1841, the bombardment 
of Aden in 1839, the assumption of the right to administer the affairs of Kolhapur in 1842, the 
conquest of Sind in 1843, and the annexation of Satara in 1848 — these transactions doubtless 
enhanced the prestige of an island, which contained a government strong enough to thus 
dictate to native powers, and served to impress more deeply upon the public mind the fact that 
Bombay was the h'eadquarters of the paramount power in Western India. But save in this 
respect and in so far as they extended to a wider area the benefits of an orderly and peaceful 
administration, thereby enabling the people to move more freely towards a flourishing trade- 
centre, these events cannot be held to have occasioned any definite increase in the numbers of 
those resident in the town of Bombay. 

Supremacy in military and political matters was practically assured to the Company by 
"the close of the preceding period, and afforded their government the- opportunity so earnestly 
desired of initiating such internal reforms, as were necessitated by the heightened conunercial 
importance of the island. Eather to the latter causes than to fresh political successes must the 
immigration of fresh people during these years be ascribed. 

Foremost among the reforms, carried out prior to 1861, was the introduction of railway 
communication. In 1844 the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, to which Sir Bartle Frere 
afterwards offered the motto " Primus in Indis," was projected ; the first sod was turned by 
Mr. Willoughby at Bombay in 1850 ; andthe first twenty miles to Thana were opened in 1853. 
*' The 16th April 1853," exclaimed the Bombay Times of that date, '' will hereafter stand as a 
red-letter day on the calendar. The opening of the first railway ever constructed in India forms 
one of the most important events in the annals of the east, since the soil of Hindustan was first 
trodden by European foot. The train that starts from beneath the walls of Fort George this 
afternoon goes forth conquering and to conquer." Even so I In spite of the " dismal prophecies 
of men who foretold that no native of good caste would ever defile himself by entering a railway 
carriage," the progress of the railway has been steadily sustained, and has aided the island to 
draw unto herself the best talent from surrounding provinces and districts, and to wield influence 
in regions far beyond her own limits. 

Nor were improved commimications by land the only factors in the increase of commerce. 
A monthly mail service, of which " the inefficiency and disorganisation called loudly for reform," 
V7as deemed inadequate for the needs of a growing community. The old system, therefore, of 


employing ahips of the Indian Navy for this purpose was discontinued in 1855 ; and a contract 
was undertaken by the Peninsular and Oriental Company for: the carriage of passengers and 
mails between Bombay and Aden twice a month, in connection with their Calcutta and 
Mediterranean service. Two years later even the bi-monthly voyage was decried ; and an agita- 
tion was set on foot for an elTeotive weekly mail service. But as the results of that i-gttation, 
and the determination to make Bombay the port of arrival and departure or all the English Mails,, 
belong to the second half of the period under review, it is unnecessary at this juncture to say 
more than that communication by steamer between the two islands of England and ^Bombay, 
which commended itself to Sir John Malcolm in 1830, and was perfected during these years,, 
contributed in a superlative degree to the expansion of our commerce, and, consequently, of our 
population also. 

The progress of trade, for which opportunity had been afforded by the militarj 
achievements of preceding years, is evidenced in various ways. The old system of houses of 
agency had perforce to yield place to joint-stock banks, of which the earliest— the Bank of 
Bombay— was started in the year 1840. The Times of India of April 15th in that year remark- 
ed that " the Bank of Bombay opens for business this day, three years and nearly four months 
having elapsed since the first subscription to it, and after surmounting a series of such difficulties- 
and obstacles, as we believe no similar institution ever encountered before, and such asrwe may 
safely predict no institution for the public good will encounter again." The difficulties attend- 
ing the opening of this Bank, however, apj)ear to have exercised no check upon the formation 
of similar institutions; for in 1814 the Oriental Banking Corporation established a branch here, 
and by 1860 " the Commercial Bank, the Chartered Mercantile, the Agra and United Service,, 
the Chartered, and the Central Bank of Western India had all gained an assured position." 

The commencement of a local cotton spinning and weaving indust.ry dates from this 
period. The enormous imports of piece-goods and yarns from Lancashire set the merchant 
community wondering whether it might not be feasible to fight Manchester with her own 
weapons, and themselves supply the demands of the island and the districts subordinate to her. In 
1857 the first mill — the Alliance Spinning and Weaving Company's Mill — commenced working: 
by the year 1860, six more had opened, and attracted to the island a considerable industrial 
population. So rapid indeed was the extension of this and allied industries, that Journalism 
was moved to remark on July 7th, 1860 : — " Whatever may be the state of other parts of India, 
it is manifest that Bombay feels neither anxiety nor apprehension regarding the future . of the 
empire. Capital was never more plentiful amongst us than at present, nor the spirit of enter- 
prise more powerful. Money, to the amount of nearly a quarter of a million pounds sterling, has 
been invested during the last fortnight in the establishment of manufactories calculated to 
promote industry and assist in the development of the resources of the country. Bombay has 
long been the Liverpool of the East, and she is now become the Manchester also. Factory- 
chimney-stacks already meet the eye on every side, and when the numerous companies recently 
formed are in full operation. Western India will have cause to be proud of her capital. In 1850' 
we question much if even the model of a cotton mill had found its way to Bombay : but now 
the tall chimneys of half-a-dozen factories tower solemn and sombre above the surrounding 
buildings. Wherever commercial enterprise can be successfully prosecuted, the Parsis of Bom- 
bay will be found ready for the adventure." 

Meanwhile the influx of population, engendered by the above causes, impressed upon all 
minds the need for introducing improvements into the island itself. More space for building, 
a better system of conservancy, and new communications were some of the most urgently needed 
reforms. In consequence, we find the idea of demolishing the Fort- walls mooted as early as 
1841, while reclamation had already been initiated in the previous year, according to Mr. James 
Douglas, by Messrs. Skinner, Brownrigg and Richmond. " The maintenance of the Fort of Bom- 
bay," wrote the Times correspondent in 1841, " is not only useless, but has become a downright 
and most serious nuisance to the inhabitants at large. It is the source of a ridiculous waste of 
money to Government itself: witness the erection, not yet completed, of a gate at the cost of 



Es. 30,000, to block up the way io the Churcb. The Fort is a costly and filthy nuisance." 
Notwithstanding that the final order for the demolition of the ramparts and the filling of the 
Town ditch was not given till later, the advantage to he gained thereby was clearly foreseen 
by Lor4 Elphinstone, the pioneer of the improvement schemes projected during these years ; 
and some effort was made before 1860 to clear away the oldest portion of the defences.^ VVe 
read in a journal of 1855 tliat, " The Apollo Gate is now all but dismantled, the last portion of 
the arch tottering to its fall ; and thus one of the oldest fragments of the Fort will, in a few 
days, have vanished. A large portion of the wall betwixt the gate and the southern entrance to 
the dock has been dismantled ; and the only matter of regret is that the hand of the destroyer 
should not extend itself all round." The Fort had indeed become superannuated. While the 
small community of former years had been liable to attack by sea, it had gallantly served as a 
protection to the trader ; but now that British power was supreme both by sea and land, no 
reason for maintaining it remained ; while the gi-ound, which its destruction would lay open, was 
most urgently required. The delay in demolishing the ramparts and the decision of the Fort 
Improvement Committee in 1848 to remove merely the ravelins and outworks, was perhaps partly 
occasioned by the opposition to the measure evinced by the native inhabitants, who in an appeal 
forwarded the same year, pointed out that, if fresh space were required for the extension of the 
town, such might be found in Colaba, Girgaum, Dhobi Talao or at Breach Candy. But it was 
not only by the need of fresh space for roads and buildings that the doom of the old Fort was 
rendered necessary. Overcrowding had already assumed serious proportions, and heightened the 
chances of conflagrations, which, so long as communication with the Fort was confined to moat- 
hridges and a few gateways, were capable of very considerable damage to house and other pro- 
perty. •' The fire which occurred lately," says a writer of 1844, " attracted me to a part of the 
Fort which I never before visited, namely, a street running along the ramparts between the Town 
Barracks and Fort George. Its name is Moodee Street. The first object which attracted my 
attention was a vast building, in which were enormous fires for cooking for some six to eight 
hundred natives. The ghee or oil, employed in cooking, occasionally falls into the fire and causes 
the flames to mount to the rafters. The danger is very great and is by no means lessened by the 
situation, exactly in the rear, of a Powder Magazine. The building is, as I stated before, large, 
but not suflBcieat to enable from six to eight hundred persons to sit down to dinner ; and the 
consequence is that they sit in the street to their meal and completely block up the thoroughfare. 
The warehouse, as I found on enquiry, is employed for housing cotton during the rains." 

As the number of the inhabitants increased, efforts were made to ameliorate the sanitary 
condition of the city. The public health and conduct of civic affairs was originally in the hands 
of Justices of the Peace, who had been succeeded by Courts of Petty Sessions, Magistrates of 
Police and finally by a Conservancy Board, in which "obtnseness, indifference and party-spirit 
appeared to have completely overcome whatever modicum of public spirit was still conserved 
among its members." Justification for this sweeping accusation may be found in the descrip- 
tion given in 1849 of one small portion of the island. " Colaba," we are told, " lies groaning 
under nuisances of the most unwholesome description • the living dwell among the graves of the 
dead ; the roads are macadamised with rotten fish and the dead carcases of household vermin." 
The first step towards adequate supervision of the town was taken in 1858, when an Act was 
passed abolishing the old Conservancy Board, and substituting therefor a triumvirate of Munici- 
pal Commissioners, which existed till 1865. It was during their regime that the great Vehar Water 
Works, for the opening of which the City is indebted to the determination and liberality of Lord 
Elphinstone, were taken in hand, whereby " a population annually liable to decimation by water 
famine," was for the first time supplied with a sufficiency of good water. Tramway communi- 
cation, which has proved so great a boon to our inhabitants, was also commenced in these years ; 
for, in the press of October 1st, 1860, we read that " The Municipal Commissioners have, on the 
application of the Colaba Land Company, allowed them to lay down Tramways through the 
Oompany'a ground and across the Causeway, conditionally for six months, witli a view to their 
satisfying themselves that the working of it will not prove an obstruction to the public traffic 
■over the Causeway." There was ample need, in truth, for increasing facilities of transit, and 


opening up new thoroughfares. Previous to the time of the mutiny, the most important improve- 
ments were the Bellasis Road, " with its two gaping black ditches on either side," and the building 
of the Mahim Causeway, which was opened in 1 845, and was described as " a stupendous mound 
which cuts off an arm of the sea, and promises to give to the husbandman what has hitherto been 
an unproductive estuary— a bridge which enables the traveller to pass a dangerous ferry in 
safety." But after the year 1857 the City expanded to such an extent that apathy in the matter 
of public improvements was no longer possible. Malabar Hill, Breach Candy and Mahalakshmi 
were eagerly seized upon by the European and well-to-do native population ; the ancient oarts 
and gardens were peopled by the poorer classes, whom the prospect of lucrative employment 
enticed from the districts of m'ainland. "On the whole of that district, " wrote the Times 
correspondent of 1860, " lying between the sea and Girgaum Back Road, building operations 
have been in active progress for some years past, but have within the last two years been pushed 
on with unprecedented rapidity. Houses are rising in all directions, and what was some few 
years ago merely a cocoanut plantation, will, within the nest half century, be as thoroughly 
urban as Mandvi and Khara Talao. Cavel and Sonapur are utterly destitute of cross thorough- 
feres, and illustrate what will be the future condition of the whole oart district, if systematic 
proceedings are not at once adopted. " 

As the occupied area expanded, as industrial enterprises and schemes, such as the 
Elphinstone Reclamation Scheme, were from time to time promoted, and introduced ever fresh 
relays of trading and industrial families, it became apparent that some suitable system of drainage 
was required, to assure the health of the City. During the early years of the period one hears 
of " uncovered main drains, poisoning the Byoulla district," of " terrible miasmata in the Fort 
and Esplanade," of nuisances approximating to those which Coleridge discovered in the holy 
•city of Cologne : and one can well understand the sentiments of relief, experienced by the public 
in 1861, on learning from the daily journals that the Municipal Commissioners had prepared 
a new system of drainage for the island. 

We may assume, therefore, that by the year 1860, an increase of population had taken 
place owing to the general progress of trade, the foundation of local industries, and the ameliora- 
tion of communications. One reads in the Bombay Times of 1848, for example, that " our 
shopkeepers are nearly all Parsis, — so are our furniture makers also — but the workmen employed 
in the manufacture of Bombay furniture of such exquisite design, and, beyond mere carving, 
of such indifferent workmanship, are nearjy all men from Cutch and Gujarat. Our best shoe- 
makers are Chinamen ; our stone-cutters are all from the interior. Our armourers and perfume 
•dealers are mostly Persians ; our horse-dealers are Afghans and Baluchis. Our potters form a 
regular organised craft and pay homage to a deity, presiding over them, just as our crafts at 
home had their organisation and patron saints in days of yore — our shoemakers their 
St. Crispin, our gardeners their St. Andrew, and our masons their St. John." One reads of 
five Jain temples in Bhendy Bazaar, one to Shantenath, two to Parasnath, and two to Adesh- 
varnath ; of others, in the Fort and Love Lane, Mazagon ; a fact which may be taken to prove 
that the number of Jains in Bombay by the year 1848 was by no means inconsiderable. By 
1847 the workmen of the island had attained such prestige that the Maharajah of Jeypore 
■despatched hither five of his subjects, " to obtain instruction in certain handicrafts, and in the 
manufacture and use of implements likely to be of value in advancing rural economy in their 
native land." The Portuguese are spoken of by Lady Falkland in 1848, as sharing the duties 
of domestic service with the Mussulman and Parsi ; and as being " converted Hiadas of the coast, 
partaking of all the physical peculiarities of the present Hindu inhabitants — small, black, ill- 
fevouredj with an occasional infusion of European and Negro-blood." According to tlie same 
writer, great n-imbers of them, and of native Christians also, lived near the old Portuguese 
College at Mahim, which was swept away by the hand of the reformer in 1851. For many 
years previous, the College had been in a state of ruin — " the dwellings broken and desolate of 
tenants, the Oolumns and colonnades, roofs and pediments, crumbling year after year to decay." 
I'he bat and the owl occupied the halls where the merriment and laughter of youth once rang 


clear. " A merry place, 'twas said, in days of yore, but something nils it now— the place 
seems cursed : " and pitying its forlorn cooditiou, the restless improver of these years removed 
the last remnants of a once famous and handsome seminary. 

The years, which elapsed between 1838 and 1860, were emphatically years of improve- 
ment. And yet, notwithstanding the opening of new roads, the foundation of temples and 
churches, the establishment of institutions like the Grant Medical College, with the object of 
" imparting, through a scientific system, the benefit of medical instruction to the natives of 
Western India," the building of mills, and the projection of great water works, much yet 
remained to be accomplished in succeeding years. The City had still to be decked in a fashion 
worthy of its position as a Crown -possession ; the increasing numbers of residents demanded new 
facilities for transit ; growth of commerce required yet more land. The Bombay Almanac of 
1855 speaks of the Supreme Court within the Fort, and the Court of Small Causes in the native 
town as " having been selected with the special object of suppressing litigation, being both 
incommodious and ill-ventilated:" while the Tzmesof 1860, in warning the public against the too 
rapid erection of cottoa-mills, remarks that "the want of wharfage and pier accommodation thrusts 
itself so prominently before us, that the apathy of our merchants thereon is past belief. Every 
man who reclaims a foot of land or gives a new foot of pier-room in Bombay deserves to be 
looked upon as a public benefactor." Fortunately, for the city and posterity, her welfare was at 
this juncture entrusted to one, who realised the need for improvement in the highest degree, 
and possessed the energy and determination to carry it out in the face of the obstruction, terror 
and indignation of the Supreme Government. Moreover, circumstances to which we shall refer 
hereafter, placed within her grasp the funds, which were needed to perfect her transformation 
from a mercantile town into a splendid and populous city. Bombay, in days of yore, had earned 
the title of "the Island of the Good Life," but by mishap had lost her right thereto. The 
achievements of Sir Bartle Frere's administration, and of the period subsequent to 1860, regained 
for her the right to bear that title, which, even though the arrow fly by night and the sickness 
destroy in the noon-day, shall abide with her for evermore. 

We pass on to the period of the making of modern Bombay ; and in reviewing the events 
which helped to swell the stream of immigration, would deal firstly with the growth of 
railways. At the close of the year 1860, the Great Indian Peninsula Company had opened 
the line as far as the head-quarters of the Thana Collectorate. Three years later, on the 22nd 
April 1863, the Bhor Ghat incline was opened, which reaches by one long lift of 15^ miles, the 
height of 1,832 feet. Sir Bartle Frer«, as we learn from Maclean, was present at the ceremony, and, 
recalling the words of Sir Joha Malcolm in 1 830, said, " When I first saw the Ghat some years later, 
we were very proud in Bombay of our mail cart to Poena, the first, and at that time, I believe, 
the only one running in India ; but it was some years later before the road was generally used 
for wheeled carriages. I remember that we hardly met a single cart between Khandalla and 
Poena ; long droves of pack bullocks had still exclusive possession of the road, and probably 
more carts now pass up and down the Ghat in a week than were then to be seen on it in a 
whole year. But the days of mail cart and bullock cart, as well as the brinjaree pack bullocks, 
are now drawing to a close." The value of the Railway in fostering the growth of Bombay 
has been well-nigh incalculable ; saving of time and expense was afforded to both European and 
Native traveller ; a journey of at least twenty -four hours, costing £6, was exchanged by 
virtue of a splendid feat of engineering, for one costing but a few rupees and lasting only for 
some six hours ! Meanwhile Gujarat was not forgotten. Tbo first section of the Bombay 
Barodii and Central India Railway was opened in 1860 ; the Broach and Baroda section in 
1861; the Ahmedabad section in 1863; and finally in 1864 "the line, which the Company 
had been forced by the Government to commence at a distance from its base of operations, was 
completed southwards as far as Bombay." The inhabitant of the cotton country was at last 
in touch with the merchant, who exported the produce of his land across the seas ; and, 
remembering the tedious journey by indifferent roads, which he had perforce undergone "in 
former years, was quick to appreciate a system which carried him to his destination more 
speedily and at lessened expense. 


Further encouragement to trade, and therefore also to the growth of our population, wa* 
afforded by sea-communication with the mainland, and by the opening of the Suez Canal. 
In 1866, as we learn from the Times of March 30th in that year, arrangements were made by 
Government with the Bombay Coast and Eiver Steam Navigation Company for running steam 
ferries between Bombay and Mandva, Karanja, Revas and Dharamtar, Uran and Ulwa. With 
the railway on one hand, and the steam-boat on the other, the island of Bombay could no 
longer be a terra incognUa to the dweller in the Konkan. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 
effected a complete revolution in the carrying trade of Bombay, which had up to that date 
been conveyed in ships round the Cape • and largely assisted Bombay to become tjie imperial 
port of India. Early in the previous year, the weekly mail service had been instituted in 
response to the agitation, which we noted in 1857, and our Island had become the port of arrival 
and departure for all the English Mails. « The claims of Bombay, " writes Maclean in 1875, « had 
by that time become too strong to be disregarded for the sake of local interests ; and now we 
have not only the P. and 0. Steamers running here, but the transports conveying the annual 
rehefs to India, and a number of independent lines of passenger steamers, including the Austrian 
Lloyd's, the Rubattino and the Anchor Line. The British India Company, too, have a contract 
with the Indian Government for carrying mails from Bombay to all the other large ports of India. 
Finally, to complete our record of what has been done to improve communication between 
Bombay and the rest of the world, we should mention that a direct submarine cable was laid 
down from Suez to Bombay in 1870, in connection with the cable from Falmouth to Gibraltar. A 
cable had been previously laid down in 1860, but it became useless after one or two messages ha J 
been transn:itted thj-ough it. Telegraphic communication between Karachi and England by a 
Persian Gulf cable had, however, been successfully established in 1865." The opening of the 
canal was, perhaps, more instrumental than any other event in raising our island to " the proud 
position of the gateway of Western India." 

The third most patent reason for the growth of the city and the rise of population was- 
the enormous increase of the cotton trade, and subsequent Share Mania, of the years 1861-65. 
The outbreak of the Civil War in America, which at once cut off the supply of American staples, 
is calculated by Maclean to have given to Bombay roughly 81 millions sterling in five years^ 
over and above what she had in former years considered a fair price for her cotton. " Allowing,, 
says he, "a liberal margin for errors of valuation at the Custom House, we may compute the- 
clear addition to the wealth of Bombay at 70 to 75 millions sterling — a tolerably substantial 
foundation for speculators to build upon." An unexampled exportation of cotton continued so long 
as the war was carried on. " The produce of all the great cotton fields of India, Nagpur, Berar, 
Gujarat, and the Southern Maratha Country," writes Sir Richard Temple, " found its way to 
Bombay in order to be exported to England, with all possible despatch, while the high prices 
ruled and the blockade of the South American ports lasted. So sudden was the demand, so 
high the range of price, so vast the profits, that an economic disturbance set in. Money seemed 
to lose its purchasing power, the prices of almost all articles rose simultaneously, and the wages of 
labour were enhanced in proportion." Dealers were absolutely indifferent to quality, so long as 
they could hurry on the staple to the market, and gain the fortune, spread before their eyes. 
The Press voiced the forebodings of the wiser portion of the public ; but was not heeded. " The 
termination of the American War," said the Times of March 1862, "will leave England inun- 
dated with inferior Surats ; and the article will stink in the nostrils of English manufacturers. 
Let those whom it coocerns look to it ; for there is danger in the present aspect of trade." But 
no warning could stem the insatiate greed for riches, which were saved and accumulated far 
too rapidly to allow of their being sunk in sound investments. The economic history of most 
commercial countries, as Sir Richard Temple remarks, has shewn that when money in vast 
quantities seeks for, and fails to find sound investments, it will be wasted. " The wastage takes 
the form of unwise or insane speculation. It was to such speculation that Bombay fell a victim 
at this time. Financial associations formed for various purposes, sprang up like mushrooms ; 
companies expanded" with an inflation as that of bubbles ; projects blossomed only to decay." 
By the end of 1864 the whole community, from the highest English official to the lowest 


native broker, became utterly demoralized, and, abandoning business, gave themselves up to 
the delusion that they could all succeed in making fortunes on the Stock Exchange. The 
newspapers were filled with announcements of new Financial Associations, and Land 
Reclamation Companies, of which the most noteworthy was the Back Bay Association, 
designed to provide in the first place the land on the shore of Back Bay, along whiob 
■the B. B. & 0. 1. Railway now runs, and afterwards to use the residue of the ground, 
permitted io be reclaimed, for the purpose of providing sites for marine residences. 
'' The value of land had been trebled and quadrupled in Bombay ; the pdpulation was every 
day increasing in numbers, and, as the available space within the island was very small, every 
additional foot tacked on seemed likely to be worth its weight in gold. Fierce opposition was 
made to the grant to a Company of so valuable a concession ; and the Bombay Government, 
which had determined to make something for itself out of the rage for speculation, by taking a 
number of Back Bay shares, was compelled by the Government of India to abandon such a 
partnership. The astute promoters of the Company then sold these shares by public auction ; 
the brokers ran them up to Rs. 25,000 a share on Rs. 4,000 paid uji, or more than 600 per cent.; 
and this sale may be said to have sent the city quite mad." By the close of the year ] 864, 
there were 31 banks in existence, 16 financial associations, 8 land companies, 16 press 
■companies, 20 insurance companies against 10 in 1855, 62 joint-stock companies against in 
1855. Journalism bade the public take heed, indulged in Cassandra-like prophecies of the ruin 
ti- nt was imminent. " We must rebuke the wild rage going on side by side with honest effort. 
Tfiis must end in a fearful smash, and we warn the Bombay public to beware ! " Thus croaked 
the Press ; and later cried more shrilly : — "There is a gambling saturnalia going on ! Speculation 
is rife, and with financial folly the rigging of the share market is now pursued. Three hundred 
and forty-seven Acts were once passed at the cost of £190,334,087; Such was 1846 in 
England ! Let us all take care of 1865 in India ! " But the malady was too virulent and too 
wide-spread to be checked by reproof ; could only be healed by the universal humiliation and 
distress of a mercantile community. The conduct of some of the banking institutions of these 
years was, without precedent, and undoubtedly fostered the growth of disaster. " To under- 
stand what their conduct has been," remarked a contemporary, " it is necessary to go much 
further back than 1864-5, iind even than the outbreak of the American War itself. The truth 
is that the mania of 1864-65 supervened upon a community in which the seeds of ruin were 
already sown broadcast by the demoralization of the personnel of its banking institutions. From 
the foundation of the i^leroantile Bank of India in this city in 1852, down to this day, there has 
hardly been a Bank Manager who has not had interested relations with one or other of fli« 
brokers. Such relations could not but be dangerous. In other words, the command of nearly 
all Banks has been in tlie hands of men engaged in speculative operations of the most formidable 
kind, and in secret partnership with the brokers. It cannot be too distinctly impressed uspon 
the public mind that the recent share mania was possible, only because an utterly demoralized 
executive had the command of all the banking resources in the place ; and with the vast means 
behind them were in all but open partnership with the brokers, as leaders of or participators in 
the great gambling operations of the time. The Back Bay scheme is said to have been the 
cause of the mania • but this is incorrect. It was the demoralization of the banking executive, 
at the time the scheme was launched upon the market, that ruined us." 

In the spring of 1865 the long protracted resistance of the Southern states collapsed, Lee's 
army surrendered, the blockade ended, and a mass of American cotton entered the English markets. 
The price of Bombay cotton foil fait ; the prices of all securities declined in sympathy with it • 
property in produce estimated at many millions sterling declined in a few weeks to less than half 
its value. " Every one," writes Maclean, " soon discovered that the nominal capital of the nuDaerous 
companies in existence only represented so much paper money ; that a few shrewd men had &S9t 
started banks and run up the shares to a premium, and then obligingly started FinaaoiaJs to lend 
money to other people to buy these shares from them. When the crash came, there was notbijag 
to meet it but paper, and the whole elaborate edifice of speculation toppled down Uke a Wbs($ 
of cards." With the downfall of the Commercial Bank, the misfqirtunes of Bombay reached a 


•climax ; then the Agra and Masterman's Bank broke, and in mid-Sepjtember Messrs. Premohand 
Eoyohand and R. Jamsetji Jeejeehhoy, the two most influential Bjcporters of cotton, were declared 
insolvent. " Returning to Jndia in the autumn of 1865," writes Sir Richard Temple, " I again 
passed through Bombay, and found the City in the very throes of her trouble, her leading mer- 
chants ruined, many of her old-established firma in peril, her banking corporations in liquidation, 
her enterprises suspended. Never had I witnessed in any place a ruin so widely distributed, nor 
such distress follovying so quickly on the heels of such prosperity. The native merchants were 
■as important as, and much more numerous than, the Europeans; and upon both alike had swift 
retribution descended. As is usual in disastrous tim^s, recrimination and mutual reproach were 
rife, and accusations of mercantile misconduct were bandied about. Happily the instances of 
misbehaviour on the part of Europeans, or on the part of natives of rank and status, were rare. 
But many natives of lesser education and position were drawn into the vortex of the speculation 
which verges upon gambling, and leads to paths heaped with temptations to questionable actions. 
Soon the courts of justice became overloaded with cases in which misguided natives were figur- 
ing as defendants. Amid the crash of companies, tirms and individuals, all ruined, the failure 
•of the Bank of Bombay was announced. The Government held shares in this Bank and had 
directors sitting at the Board of Management ; there also the public funds needed for current 
expenses were deposited. The rule in this Bank, as in the other banks in India with which the 
■Government was connected, had been that advances should not be made on any securities except 
those of Government. But unfortunately by some recent legislation on a renewal of the Bank's 
charter, some provisions had been inserted whereby the Bank was empowered to make advances 
-on certain kinds of securities other than those of Government. In virtue of this power, the Bank 
had made advances to companies during the time of prosperity, on the security of their shares, 
to such an extent that when the companies became insolvent amidst the general ruin, the Bank also 
failed. This failure was noticed with sharp animadversion by the public, and especially by those 
who had become shareholders in the Bank, on the faith of its being supervised by the Govern- 
ment. Indignation i-ose high against the Government Director, who as financial adviser in this 
matter, was specially bound to see that the Bank steered clear of the threatening shoals." The 
-disasters that befell the surface of society formed but a fraction of the misery occasioned by the 
failure of the leading merchants and firms. The impossibility of realising land assets for cash and 
distributing them gave rise to a wide-spread undercurrent of distress, blighting careers once 
promising, and condemning many lives to a hopeless and degrading bondage, " The value of the 
lands and houses that have to be sold," wrote the Times of August 1866, "must be estimated at 
four crores of rupees ; and this sum is owed five times over by the community at large." Two 
Land Companies only lived through the day of reckoning, the Colaba and Elphinstone Companies. 
"The latter had done good work and possessed a valuable property ; and was able to keep on its way 
for some years, till a sjmpathatic Government relieved it of anxiety by buying all its shares at 
par. By the close of the year 186*7, the panic had subsided; and commercial affairs, which 
fortunately suffered no permanent injury from the wild excesses of these five years, commenced to 
regain a normal aspect. Moreover the future financial independence and success of Bombay was 
placed in its own keeping, by the ope^ing in 1868 of a new Bank of Bombay, which was to form 
■" an impregnable centre of commercial stability." " The new Bank," remarked the Press, " has 
the strongest negative guarantee for safety in the history of the four years' downfall of 
the old Bank." 

Such is, in outline, the history of the great Share Mania. Posterity, while regretting that 
chastisement of so terrible a nature should have been metad out to individuals, is yet forced to 
admit that modern Bombay was really established in those troublous years. She emerged purified 
from the furnace of affliction, more populous and more beautiful than she had ever been in former 
years. At the outset, when the piles of gold'commenoed to stream into her coffers, the pnblic 
mind was turjaed towards improvement of the land, improvement that might ren ler her larger 
and more wholesome : and at the head of the Government was just the one man, who could stimulate 
that desire, and guide it by zeal and enthusiasm to a practical issue. These causes led to the 
£nal order of 1862 for the demolition of the Fort walls and to the great Reclamations, which have 


so largely contributed to the general health of the island. Bombay had by 1862 grown beyond 
both natural and artifioiallimifcs;" the fort was too small to furnish warehouse -room^^ for her 
merchandize ; the island too crowded to afford space for the residence of the community." " The 
exigencies of the case," cried the daily journals, " demand not only that we should recover space 
from obsolete and useless works, but that we should likewise reclaim land from the sea." The old 
Fort, therefore, which had frowned upon the Malabar pirate, and watched the merchant fleet 
sail forth to punish An gria, disappeared for ever. Some remnant of it still exists m the 
modern Araenal, or " Black Fort, " as the buggy-driver terms it. The task of driving back the 
ocean was also taken in hand. " The traveller, landing at Apollo Bunder about the year 1855,, 
would have found a foul and hideous foreshore from the Fort to Sewri on the East ; from Apollo 
Bunder round Colaba and Back Bay to the West. All round the Island of Bombay was one foul 
cesspool, sewers discharging on the sand, rocks only used for the purposes of nature. To nde 
home to Malabar Hill along the sands of Back Bay was to encounter sights and odours too 
horrible to describe— to leap four sewers, whose gaping mouths discharged deep blaek 
streams across your path, to be impeded as yoa neared Chowpatty by boats and nets and stacks of 
firewood, and to be choked by the fumes from the open burning ghat, and many an ancient and 
fish-like smell. To travel by rail from Bori Bunder to BycuUa, or to go into Mody Bay, was to 
see in the foreshore the latrine of the whole population of the Native Town." Of the wealth which 
found its way into Bombay subsequent to the year 1860, some six million pounds sterling was 
utiUsed in regulating and advancing into the sea below low water mark the whole of the island's 
foreshore. Handsome works were effected on either side of ihe Apollo Bunder, extendins 
south-westward almost to Colaba Church, and stretching from the Custom House to Sewri 
along the Mody Bay, Elphinsione, Mazagon, Tank Bunder and Frere Reclamations, a distance 
of at least five miles. On the other side of the island was the great Back Bay reclamation,, 
from Colaba to the foot of Malabar Hill, whereon was constructed a good road and bridle path. 
Considering what the effect of these works has been upon the sanitary condition of the city, 
and the great convenience and comfort which they have afforded to the masses, the speculation 
and mania of the years 1861-65 appear rightly to have been a blessing in disguise. According 
to Dr. Hewlett's report of 1872, the area reclaimed amounted to 4,348,918 square yards 
which is equivalent to 898-5 acres ; and by the year 1 872 the area of the whole island 
had risen from 18-62 square miles to 22 square miles, 149 acres and 1,897 square 

Not upon reclamation alone was the public wealth expended during these years. 
New roads were made ; old tracks improved. The Colaba Causeway was widened and rebuilt 
in 1861-63 ; the Esplanade Main Road, Eampart Row and Hornby Row, Bori Bunder Road, 
Market Road past the Markets, a road from Church Gate Street to Esplanade Main Road, 
the junctions of Apollo Bunder with Marine Street and Rampart Row, were all commenced 
and completed within fifteen years after the opening of this period. Cruikshank Road and 
the Esplanade Cross Road were widened by Government in 1865 and 1866 ; the Nowroji Hill 
Road from Dongri Street was constructed in 1865 ; the Carnac, Alasjid and Elphinstone over- 
bridges were built by 1867 at the joint expense of the Municipality and G. I. P. Railway ;_ 
Rampart Row East from the Mint to Fort George Gate was constructed by Government on 
the site of the Rampart and part of the Mody Bay reclamation. 

But important as these reclamations and communications were, they are less likely to 
strike the mind of the casual traveller than the great buildings and adornments of the city, 
which were established in these years. The embellishment of Bombay may be said to have 
been conducted by two parties, working separately, but both actuated by the spirit of the age, 
which demanded that some part of the newly-acquired wealth should be spent to the permanent 
advantage of the city and island. On the one side were private citizens, who sought to leave 
to the island some outward memento of their success in speculation or, as the case might be, 
in sound commercial transactions. " It should never be forgotten," writes Maclean, " that 
the splendour of the public buildings and useful and benevolent institutions of new Bombay 


Itn^t' T'^"'°''"^ *^" «P««'^1'^*°'^^ «f 1861-65." One thinks at once of the 4 lakhs 

g eaDyMr.PramchandRoychand. "the uncrowned king of Bombay" in those days, for 

university Library Building and a tower, to be named after his mother "The Rajabai Tower » ; 

■^t ti,e Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy School of Art ; of « the liberality of Cowasji Jehangir, Esq., who 

very shortly (1864) provide Bombay with no less than forty drinking fountains, to be 

placed in various parts of the island"; of Parsi benevolent institutions, such as the Opthalmio 

jospial completed in 1866, the Parsi Hospital at Colaba, and the Hospital for Incurables at 

yculla; of subscriptions to a Victoria Museum ; and of the Sassoon Mechanics' Institute. Public 

-companies helped also in the task of improvement. One reads of new Railway workshops at 

rarel ; of a site being secured for a ftas Company in 1862, and of their commencing work in 

October 1865. " The first lamps to be lighted," says the Bombay Builder of that date, « are the 

•new ones along the Bhendy Bazaar ; these by-the-way reflect far more credit upon the Municipal 

i^ngmeer than the miserable specimens along the Esplanade." A portion of the town was for the 

farst time lighted with gas on Saturday, October 7th, 1866 • and as the lamp-lighters went from 

lamp to lamp they were followed, we are told, « by crowds of inquisitive natives, who gszed in 

mute astonishment at the new western wonder that had appeared in their midst." The Penin- 

^^ukr and Oriental Company were at work in 1863 upon their great Dockyard at Mazagon. 

" Very few persons," wrote a correspondent of the Times, " have any idea of the magnitude of 

the new establishment just rising into existence within a stone's throw of the old docks at 

Mazagon. About three years ago (1860), the Company obtained from Government, for a very 

low sum, the old Mazagon dock with permission to reclaim the foreshore to low water mark. 

The works completed or in progress comprise the largest and most perfect timber-slip in 

Bombay." Lastly one may mention in this connection the Elphinstone Circle, the erection of 

which was sanctioned by Sir George Clerk, and completed during his successor's tenure of office. 

The site of this imposing collection of buildings— the old Bombay Green— was bought by the 

Municipality and resold by them at a large profit in building lots to English mercantile firms, 

who gradually transformed the dusty open space, inhabited for the most part by crowds of 

pigeons, into an imposing example of street architecture. The suggestion that the circle should 

bear the name of Lord Elphinstone emanated from the firms concerned in the building thereof, 

■who held a public meeting at the office of Messrs. Ritchie Steuart & Co. in the year 1862. The 

-proposal, testifying to the support which Lord Elphinstone had accorded to the scheme in its 

infancy, was approved by Government ; and under the title of the Elphinstone Circle, one more 

striking improvement was added to the list of those conceived and executed during this period. 

On the one hand, therefore, were private individuals and public firms, working during 
these years with one fixed idea of improving and enlarging the city, to which their several 
destinies had driven them. On the other hand were Sir Bartle Frere and his Government, 
actuated no less keenly by the same wish. " As lands for building purposes were very much 
needed, " writes Sir Richard Temple, •' and would command a high price, a project was formed 
for throwing down the walls of the Fort, taking up a portion of the plain, and making allot- 
ments of ground available for building. Sir Bartle Frere took up this project with his ac- 
customed zeal, and obtained large sums in purchase money from those who bid for the allotments. 
The means thus acquired, together with grants'from the Government, were collected and formed 
into a special fund for the construction of public offices and buildings for Bombay. The formation 
and management of this fund caused much correspondence with the Government of India • but the 
scheme held good and was duly carried into effect. Previously these buildings had been found 
unsuitable for the growing needs of a capital city, being cramped in space, badly situated and 
imperfectly ventilated • they were erected at a time when civilization was but little advanced in the 
settlements of the East India Company, and when architectural taste was almost unknown in 
British India. The opportunity was to be taken of giving Bombay a series of structures worthy 
of her wealth, her pbpulousness, and her geographical situation. The designs were to be of the 
highest character architecturally : therefore architects were obtained from England to frame them 
•elaborately; and due thought was given to artistic effect. The operations were planned 
deliberately and were begun while Frere was still in Bombay. Their completion was arranged 



by his successors very much on the lines which he had laid down. They comprise the Govern- 
ment Secretariat, the University Library, the Convocation Hall, the High Court, the Telegraph 
Department, the Post Office, all in one grand line facing the sea. Other buildings in a similar 
style were built in other parts of the city, such as the Elphinstone College, the Victoria 
Museum, the Elphirstone High School, the School of Art, the Gokuldas Hospital, the Sailor's 
Home and others. Few cities in the world can show a finer series of structures ; and those 
who admire the buildings after the lapse of fifteen years from the beginning of the work, may 
well be reminded that it is to Sir Bartle Frere that Bombay owes the origination and inception 
of this comprehensive project. It would be a mistake to attribute too much to individual 
Governors; for when work is demanded by the spirit of the age, it will be done in some shape or 
other, whoever may be in power. But in justice it must be said, tha,t Frere deserves the lion a 
share in the credit of this undertaking, and that without him the work would never have reached 
that magnitude which is now beheld by all English spectators with a feeling of national pride." 
In addition to the great buildings mentioned by Sir Richard Temple, we read of improvements 
to the Cathedral, new Police Courts in Byculla and the Fort, the expenditure necessary for 
which was sanctioned by Government in 1866; of new light-houses on Kennery and the Prongs; 
of Harbour defences, batteries at Oyster Rock, Cross Island and middle ground ; of a Wellington 
Memorial Fountain; and of an European General Hospital; and many other works of utility and 
adornmen*,. "Upwards of a million sterling," says the Bombay Builder of 1866-67, "has 
already been expended upon the various works which have been undertaken by this Govern- 
ment in Bombiiy ; and about a million and-a-quarter is the estimated cost of completing works 
already in progress. Two millions more will be required for projected works, including the 
military cantonment at Colaba. More has been done for the advancement of important works 
during the present than during any previous administration. The works of progress that remain 
are blessings to Bombay ; those that have miscarried are landmarks to guide the coming adrninis- 
tration ; and those that are retarded belong more to the financial policy of the Government ot 
India than to the policy of Sir Bartle Frere." 

No retrospect of this important period would be complete without a reference to the 
change and growth of Municipal Government, which, while necessitated in the first instance 
by the increase of the city and of its population, has undoubtedly contributed in no small degree 
to a further rise in the numbers of residents, by rendering the island habitable alike by the rich 
and poor. Sir Bartle Frere in a speech delivered at the laying of the foundation-stone of the 
Elphinistone Circle in October 1864, remarked that " the three great objects, which Lord 
Elphinstone had ever kept in view, were firstly the water-supply of the city ; secondly, the 
efficient drainage of the whole Town and Island ; and lastly, the Reclamation of the Flats." 
The first object had already been brought to a practical issue by the construction of the Vehar 
Lake ; but by the time Sir Bartle Frere took up the reins of Government, the triumvirate of 
Municipal Commissioners, whom we have seen appointed by an Act of 1858, had effected little- 
or nothing towards the consummation of the two latter desiderata. Moreover, the administration 
of 1858 had not met with the favour of the public, and was not so constituted as to be able to 
effect the radical improvements in conservancy and communications, which were demanded by 
the spirit of those years. " The great difficulty, " remarks the Bombay Builder of July 1865, 
" against which the old regime had to contend, was the constant changes which took place in the 
Board. - We should not like to say how many individuals, consisting of private tutors. Lieutenants ■ 
of the Navy, disappointed Quarter Masters, Assistant Dock Masters, &c., have held ofiice as Com- 
missioners during the last ten years. How such men — doubtless most able men in their own. 
particular departments — can be expected to understand and superintend the conservancy of a 
city such as Bombay, is to us a mystery. Therefore, we say that we heartily welcome anything 
which is likely to prove a change for the better, although at the same time it is by no means 
certain that the new Act will be fqund complete in every poiht." One of the most notable features, 
therefore, of Sir Bartle's administration was the abolition of the old triumvirate, and the passing 
of Act II of 1865, whereby the Justices for the Town and Islaod-of Bombay were created a body 
corporate, and entire executive power and responsibility was vested in a Commissioner, appointed" 


6y Government for a, term of tliitee years. A contemporary writer, in reviewing tie events con- 
nected with the name of Sir Bartle Frere, remarked that " This Act at first sight appear* 
quite unconnected with the building or improvement question, with which we now have to deal. 
But when it is remembered that the iarge revenues of the Municipality will come in part to be 
expended on works of public utility in coming years, and that the Municipal credit will be pledged 
for carrying out vast and costly undertakings, our readers will confess that in the passing of the 
Municipal act a rich vein of progress and development has been struck, which will yet in point 
of magnitude of operation and success distance even the efforts of Government and of public 
companies. We hear the first notes of action in the two appeals which are new before Govern- 
ment : one for a concession of the waste land, known as " The Elats, " intended for house 
accommodation for the city ; the other for the Mody Bay site, intended for the construction 
of docks. There may be delay in sanctioning these measures, bat the former must be 
sanctioned ; aud the latter may be, although- we much question its necessity. The flats lie 
unoccupied, because Government are unable to utilize them, while Bombay calls aloud for 
house-room. So for, therefore, the Municipal Act will give a stimulus, if not to enterprise 
in a speculative sense, at least to true progress • and for this we owe our gratitude to 
Sir Bartle Frere. Had the Municipal power been organised and brought into play, before 
Bombay wasted her money in bubble companies, many of the concessions of Government 
would have been turned away from greedy promoters. Sir Bartle Frere was able to distinguish 
the true policy of progress in works of utility ; but his Excellency's perceptions came too late 
to be of any use to Bombay during a severe monetary crisis." 

Ere we proceed to details of the improvements effected by the Municipality of 1865, it 
should be noted that the new system was marred by one flaw, which eventually led in the closing 
year of the period under review, to its discontinuation, and to the passing of a new Municipal 
Bill. Municipal Administration, as has been remarked, was conducted by a Commissioner and 
the Bench of Justices : but the powers of the Commissioner were so extensive that he was practi- 
cally irresponsible ; and, in an age so fertile of great and costly works, he was open to a 
temptation to spend the money -of the ratepayers in a far too lavish manner. Had there only 
existed some constitutional check upon his powers and inclinations, the Municipal system of 
1865 might have lasted beyond 1872. But, as the aut contemplated no such check, costly works^ 
were set on foot, necessitating the disbursement of such immense sums, that something akin to a 
popular revolution took place in 1871, and Government felt itself compelled to create a new 
Municipality, in which the ratepayers themselves should, by their representatives, have an autho- 
ritative voice. "The first real experiment, for as such it has always been regarded, in Munici- 
pal Government in India was made by the Municipal Bill which passed the Legislative Council 
of Bombay, and received the sanction of the Government of India in 1872." The first Municipal 
election were held in the m.onth of July 1873 ; and there came into existence from that date a 
Municipal Corporation, consisting of 64 persons, all of them ratepayers resident in the City of 
Bombay, of whom 16 were nomuiated by Government, 16 were elected by the Justices of the 
Peace resident in the island, and 32 were elected by the ratepayers. 

Short as was the period, during which the Municipal constitution of 1865 lasted, consider- 
able progress was made in sanitation and communications. An efficient Health Department was 
organised, and came into existence on November 1st, 1865, which at once directed its attention 
to drainage, to the condition of burial grounds and to the presence of dangerous and offensive 
trades. Thus in the Municipal reports of the period, one reads of the old Horticultural Society's 
Garden at Sewn being taken in exchange for other outlying plots of Government land in 1866, 
and handed over as a Christian Cemetery to the Senior Chaplain in 1868 ; of a new cemetery for 
native Christians and Portuguese being opened at Dharavi in 1869 ; and of the following grave- 
yards, which were a source of danger to the public health, being permanently closed in the same 
year :— Church Street, Mazagon • Lawrence de Lima Street ; Armenian and Roman Catholic 
grave-yards at Mangalwadi ; Protestant grave-yards in Girgaum, St. Thomas' Cathedral, and 
Grant Road; and Roman Catholic grounds in Upper and Lower Mahim. The old 
fiurial ground at Colaba was finally closed in 1870 ; while in 1871 the Mahommedan 

' ]32 

cemetery at Queen's Road was enclosed by a substantial wall, aud a new burial ground for 
certain classes of Hindus was opened at the junction of the Haines and Worli Roads. 
The closure of most of these grounds was necessiiated by the excessive overcrowding, which 
had taken place in them. Regarding those trades, which caused danger or offence to 
the public, he who desires information may well consult the Municipal Health Reports of 1866 
and 1867 : whence it will appear that all tanners were removed in those years from the precincts 
of the native town, and settled to a large extent in Bandora or Mahim ; that catgut-makers 
were driven to Worli, fat-boilers to Naigaum and the Sewri Cross Road ; that the indigo-dj'ers 
of Suparibagh in Parel were removed, as also salt-fish-store dealers from Mandvi-Kolivadi to 
the village of Sewri. 

The drainage question had for many years troubled the minds of those responsible for the 
welfare of the island. As early as 1863, journalism broke into a paean of praise over the 
prospoct of such a reform, declaring that " Bombay is to be drained at last "; that " the Muni- 
cipal Commissioners have taken steps for breaking ground at once in the Fort ; and in a fort- 
night or so, we may expect to see the beginning of the greatest sanitary reform, that can possibly 
be introduced, applied to Bombay. " The unfortunate triumvirate was unequal to the task. 
Though the work was commenced in 1864, the feebleness of the old Commission militated 
against a satisfactory issue thereof ; and in the meantime, the public had discovered that the 
most vital point connected with thorough drainage — namelj', the location of the sewage outfall — 
was still undecided. The importance of deciding this question was put forward in 1865 by a 
special committee, appointed to deal with the drainage of the flats. After the Municipality of 
1865 had been constituted, distinct improvement was made; so that by 1870 the Municipal 
Commissioner could truthfully record that " the new sewer in Portuguese Church Street has 
reformed a most horrible neighbourhood, and enabled us to drain an oart — Anant Rooshia's 
oari — long a disgrace to Bombay "• and that the sewering of Kamathipura and part of the 
Fort was completed. 

Closely connected with the question of public health was the condition of the public 
markets and slaughter-houses ; and it was not long before the Municipal Commissioner turned his 
mind towards their improvement. In 1867 the Null Bazaar Market and the Bandora Slaughter- 
houses were opened ; in 1868 a new market was built at Bhuleshwar, and private markets were 
opened in Sheik Ali Janjikar Street, Rampart Row, and Tank Bunder, the total number of 
public markets in that year being 8, and of private markets 17, exclusive of those under 
construction. Finally in 1869, were completed the Arthur Crawford Markets, " the noblest and 
most useful of all the public improvements executed in Bombay, which form a grand monument 
to the energy and administrative capacity of the gentleman whose name they bear, and who 
was Municipal Commissioner of Bombay from July 1865 till November 1871. " 

It were tedious to recount at length all the measures taken by the Municipality to render 
the city habitable ; how cattle-pounds and stables of approved pattern were built • how the water 
supply of Vehar was increased, and the Tulsi water works were begun ; how our present Ova 
and Rotten Row, the playing-grounds of the city, were laid out. But we cannot pass onward 
without recalling the fact that the Reclamation of the Flats with town-sweepings was first 
suggested during these years, and that supreme activity was displayed in improving communi- 
cations within the island. The proposal to fill up the flats in the manner abovementioned met with 
considerable opposition ; and as late as 1875 Maclean described the work, then begun, as a measure 
of doubtful sanitary advantage. But, in the words of the Health Officer of 1874, " it musi? b 
always remembered that prior to the deposit of town-sweepings on the flats, the locality was a 
foul pestilential swamp ; and before the garden plots were cultivated, there was, as there is still, 
the filthy drain which gave them their sewage. When to windward of a town there is a putrid 
«alt marsh, undrained, uncared-for — flooded periodically with sewage, — a charnel-house, a common 
necessary — a depository for dead animals — horribly offensive, unutterably foul, when from north 
to south this area is bisected by the filthy drain, already described : when from east to west 
there runs another only less objectionable, because smaller ; and when all these conditions have 
remained unabated for thirty years, it is etraining at the gnat and swallowing the camel to 


apeak of danger, because with town-sweepin4,s it is proposed to convert a very limited portion 
of this waste into a garden for ornament and use, or because sewage was here raised from an 
existing drain and utUised." Foresight eventually triumphed over obstruction ; and the measure, 
which had originated between the years 1865-70, was being vigourously carried out some years 
after a new and more representative Municipality had come into existence. 

Improved communications were no less ardently desired and constructed than new 
markets or new drains. The Bori Bunder Road was widened inl8G5; the Queen's Road 
along Back Bay was constructed in 1870 on the occasion of the Duke of Edinburgh's 
visit ; the JJowroji Hill Road from Doagri Koli Street to Mazagon was ready in 1865 ; 
the Breach Candy, Mahalakshmi and Tardeo Roads were widened and improved in 1867 ; 
Orant Road was completed in 1872 • Beliasis, Clare, Falkland and Kamathipura Foras 
Roads all sprang into existence between. 1866 and 1868. Finally, the great Foras Roads 
ncross the Flats— the Arthur, Clerk and DeLisle Roads— which had been commenced in 1862, 
were completed by the Municipality in 1867 and 1868. The Carnao, Masjid and Elphinstone 
overbridges were in use at the close of 1867, the Kennedy Bridge was completed in 1869. 
•"The widening of the Beliasis Road," wrote the editor of the Bombay BuUder in 1868, "is 
progressing well, and the Grant and now Foras Roads are shortly to be similarly treated. The 
latter road will be diverted to the foot of Frere Bridge, so soon as the Gilder Road is finished. 
Nepean Sea and Wilderness Roads have also been much improved by widening. All these 
improvements are very desirable indeed, and the public duly appreciate them ; but we would 
much prefer to see the money spent on all the street-widening that is possible in the Native 
Town. Mr. Crawford will be conferring an incalculable boon on a large section of the Christian 
community, if he would effect a wholesale widening of streets and lanes about Sonapur. Trinity 
Chapel Street and lane sadly need widening, both on account of the Chapel and the worshippers 
that frequent it, as for the large boarding school in connection therewith. Trinity Chapel Street 
and its coutinnation, and all the roads and streets running parallel with ^t from Back Bay, 
would, if widened to 50 or 60 feet, increase the health of the districts ten-fold— rather, we 
should say, decrease the death-rate in that proportion." 

Enough has, perhaps, been said regarding the part played by the Municipality in the 
making of new Bombay. The erection of new buildings, the provision of architectural adorn- 
ment was left to Government or wealthy citizens ; the foundation of the public health and 
convenience was relegated to the Municipality ; and no stronger proof of the benefits which that 
body introduced can be adduced than the picture drawn by Dr. Hewlett in 1878, of the condi- 
■tion of the city prior to 1865. " Filth was allowed," so we learn, "to accumulate in Pathak- 
wadi, where heaps of rubbish had been consolidated to a height of 2 feet above the original road. 
The city had an unenviable reputation for unhealthiness. Little was done towards the 
removal of filth ; and if we are to judge from the accounts we have before us of the way in 
which excreta and filth were allowed to run over and soak into the ground around the wells, 
ihe well water, which was the only source of supply for the town, must have been abominably 
impure. In some places in the town, even in very densely-peopled parts, where scavengers had 
been at work in cleaning gutters and gullies, the filth had been left by them on the road to 
•evaporate to a more convenient consistence, before being carted away. In the dry and hot 
months, the people were unable to draw water from many of the wells in seasons, when the 
rainfall had been less than 70 inches, but were compelled to descend into tanks and the Fort 
ditch to scoop up a semi-liquid mud, which was transferred to the pitcher after being passed 
through a piece of dirty cloth. Thousands of persons were thus forced to drink a liquid which 
could only be regarded as sewage." Whatever may have been the shortcomings of the Muni- 
cipal administration of 1865-72, it, at any rate, rectified to a great extent the evils which had 
arisen during the rule of the so-called Sanitary Department and its Scavenging Contractor. 

The birth of Bombay, as a royal, a populous and a beautiful city, is ascribable, as we 
have attempted to show, to the joint labours of Government, the Municipality, private firms and 
individual citizens, all of whom strove in their several spheres to render a once " inconsiderable 




Alandvi and Eundeis. 




Mahim Woods and Matunga. 


island " worthy both of posterity and of the Imperial Monarch, to whose liberal sway she was 
now proud to owe her allegiance. Ere the numbers of the population claim our attention, let us 
glance briefly at the outward features of the island, as described in the press or official records^ 
of the day. The Times of 1864 contains a paragraph stating that in that year H, E. the Govern- 
nor in Council prescribed the limits of Bombay to be " The Island of Bombay, and Colaba and 
Old Womau's Island, " and sub-divided them into the following areas : — 

Breach Candy. 

Malabar Hill. 


Mazagon Mount. 

In the year 1865 the new Municipality had, for the purposes of assessment, to formulate 
a scheme of wards, which are shown in a map accompanying the Commissioner's report for 
that year. At the extreme south lies the Colaba Ward, comprising " Upper, Middle and 
Small Colaba" ; north of it is the Fort Ward (No. 2) embracing the Fort proper, the 
Esplanade, and Dhobi Talao. Northward again are the Mandvi (No. 3) and Bhuleshwar 
(No. 4) Wards. The former includes all that area now known as Chakla and the Market ;. 
the latter embraces a modern Phanaswadi, and Bhuleshwar proper. Beyond Mandvi lies 
the Oomerkhadi Ward (No. 5), comnrising the modern Dongri and Oomerkhadi proper- 
Girgaum Ward (No. 6) and Kamathipura Ward (No. 7) adjoin Bhuleshwar, and include the 
former Chowpatty and Khetwadi, the latter Kamathipura, Kumbharwada and Khara Talao ; 
though these modern sectional names do not figure in the map. Portions of our modern Byculla 
district are also included in the Kamathipura Ward. Malabar Hill Ward (No. 8) is composed 
of the modern Walkeshwar and Mahalakshmi sections ; Mazagon Ward (No. 9), on the other 
side of the island, embraces Mazagon proper and Tarwadi. The tenth and last Ward is called 
" Mahim and Parel," and comprises Mahim, Parel, Sewri, Sion and Worli ; or rather the area 
which these modern sections now occupy. By 1872, a further re-distribution of areas had 
been found necessary ; and we And an A Division made up of Colaba, the Fort and Esplanade j 
B Division comprising Market, Mandvi, Chakla, Oomerkhadi and Dongri ; Division including 
Dhobi Tulao, Phanaswadi, Bhuleshwar, Khara Taiao, Kumbharwada, Girgaum and Khetwadi ; 
D Division made up of Chowpatty, Walkeshwar, and Mahalakshmi ; E Division comprising 
Mazagon, Tarwadi, Kamathipura, Parel and Sewri ; and lastly an F Division composed of Sion, 
Mahim and Worli. These changes in the nomenclature of localities testify as strongly as other 
facts to the great expansion of the town and the large area built over during these years. The 
journals published between 1861 and 1872 from time to time refer to the want of a Building ^ct,. 
to the necessity of " regulating the construction of the numerous houses constantly springing up 
in and about the City," So immense was the influx of people, attracted hither by the prospect 
of employment on great public works or by the hope of gain, that house-room could not be 
provided sufficiently quickly for all classes. The Bombay Builder of September 1866 speaks 
of " coolies and other workmen finding the greatest difficulty in housing themselves even in 
the most miserable and unwholesome lodgings. " " Let any one, " adds the paper, " visit 
the purlieus of the Byculla Tanks, and examine for himself the wretched rows of cadian 
huts occupied by human beings, but only raised by a few inches above the fetid mud of the 
flats ; and he will no longer be astonished to hear that two out of three coolies that come to 
Bombay for employment do not return to their homes, but are carried off by fever or other 
diseases. When the Eailways are open through to Calcutta and Madras, Bombay will become 
in a great measure the port of India, commercial transactions will greatly extend, and more room 
for dwellings will be imperatively required." In 1872, the need of new house-accommodation 
was still of the highest urgency. " I wish to bring to notice, " wrote the Health OflBoer to the 
Municipal Commissioner, "the desirability of erecting artisans' and labourers' dwellings. It is 
extremely difficult for European mechanics and others to get respectable lodgings at a reason- 
able rate ; and the filthy dens in which the labouring classes of the city live are among the chief 
causes of the very high death-rate." The island was, in truth, wholly unprepared for the 
sudden increase of population, occasioned by the stirring circumstances of 1861 to 1872 ; as^ 
much room as possible was provided by the building of new houses, and by the erection of fresh 


storeys upon old buildingg, which were totally unfit to bear their weight - but by so doing, those 
conditions of life in the city were introduced, which have remained an unsolved problem to the 
present day. Great as were the benefits which the period under review introduced, one can 
never forget that therein were sown the seeds of ill-health stnd overcrowding, which have 
obtruded themselves so persistently upon later governments and municipalities. Maclean gives 
a general and very pleasant sketch of the island, as it appeared about the year 1872. He speaks 
of the splendid buildings, the streets full of shops, " the pretty mosque in Parel Eoad," the 
cloth-market, the Marwadis' bazaar with its handsomer style of houses, the accumulated riches 
of Kalbadevi Eoad and Sheikh Memon Street, the pillars and quaint over-hanging verandahs 
of the lofty houses near the Mumbadevi Tank, the warrens of Dhobi Talao, the coach-building 
factories of the Maratha quarter, the numerous and comfortable dwellings on Malabar Hill, and 
the " glorious panorama of water, wood, hills, shipping, and the stately edifices of a great 
city," which strike the eye from the summit of the Ridge. And it was undoubtedly the truth 
that he spoke ; for the city had become in his day both beautiful and rich. But a clearer idea 
of the conditions of that period will be gained by observing also the dark shadows which lie in 
the back-ground of the canvass. There was " a thickly crowded and insanitaiy village of 
Hamalwadi " in Lower Oolaba • a high death-rate in the Market Section, arising from " the 
condition of the individual houses in that locality." «' Land in the Mandvi Section," wrote the 
Municipal Health Officer in 1872, "is so valuable, that the houses ^re built very high, the 
streets are narrow and the people overcrowded ; while the imperfect drains in the section are, 
from being carelessly constructed, often choked." Chakla was no better ; was full of dark and 
ill-ventilated milch-cattle stables. Nowroji Hill had already been ruined by its owner, '' who 
lets out plots of land to persons to build as they please, without any definite plan to ensure 
breadth of streets and ventilation of houses." In the heart of Dhobi Talao was '' the dirty 
irregular labyrinth of Gavel. Vehicles can only pass a very short distance into it ; and one of the 
principal thoroughfares thither is through a liquor-shop in Girgaum Road. " Fanaswadi was 
honeycombed with sewers. Bhuleshvar contained the " indescribably filthy quarter of the milk- 
sellers," known as'Gogari'; while Kumbharwada ranked as '' a shamefully neglected district, 
where the inhabitants sleep in an atmosphere tainted with sqlphurated hydrogen. The people are 
generally poor, and the house-owners portion off the floors of their houses into as many rooms as 
possible." Khetwadi, once the " Place of Fields," was being rapidly covered with houses,, 
notwithstanding that during the monsoon the storm-water from the Falkland Road main-drain 
was ponded up in the Khetwadi Back Road to a depth of three or four feet. Chowpatty and 
Girgaum were full of cess-pools ; the state of Malabar Hill was such as to cause grave anxiety to 
the guardians of the public health. '' It is chiefly occupied by European residents, who do not, 
as a rule, take any trouble regarding the sanitary condition of their compounds ;' the consequence 
being that the servants allow their friends and relatives to come and overcrowd the servants' 
quarters, and thereby increase the chance of ill-health." Tardeo was beginning to attract so 
many people to its mills, that a properly laid out village for mill-employes appeared desirable. 
Khara Talao possessed many houses in which it was essential to carry a light by day ; " the villages 
of Sindulpada, Agripada and Julaipada" were well nigh untraversable, owing to the presence of 
an open drain ; the thickly populated villages and hamlets of Parel were wholly undrained. The 
condition of Mazagon and Sewri was more satisfactory. The former, however, yet lacked a road 
across the waste ground reclaimed by the Elphinstone Company, which separated it from the 
Fort on one side and the native town on another. The foreshore of Sewri had been vastly 
improved by the Frere reclamation, but the section was handicapped from a sanitary point of 
view by the detached hamlets of Ghorupdev and Jackeria Bunder, in which dwelt the labourers 
and quarry-men of that epoch. Mahim was, as it still is, covered with thick cocoa-nut 
plantations, and formed an agreeable resort during the morning or evening hours. 

Such were the conditions of our city, as disclosed by the deeper enquiries of a department 
of public health. Beautiful wore her public buildings, great was the increase of her commerce,, 
huge was her population, by the year 1872 ; and yet she was suffering from evils, of which, as 
Dr. Leith wrote, the most prominent and at the same time the most open to immediate remedy 


■was great filthiness. While, therefore, we justly attribute to this period the genesis of a pros- 
perous and royal city, we should not forget that it also is responsible for the birth of those 
troubles, which have exercised the mind of the public for so many years, and have finally 
necessitated the creation in our own day of a special Board, charged with the relief of over- 
crowding and the sanitary regeneration of the island. 

We pass on to the details of the population during the years 1838 to 1872. At the close 
of the previous period, the inhabitants of the island, as we have seen, numbered 236,000, or prob- 
ably a little more. Ten years later the benefits of peace, the growth of commerce, and im- 
provement of communications had raised the total to 566,119. Such is the figure recorded 
against that year in Murray's Handbook of India, Part II, which distributes the total as fol- 
lows among the various communities resident within the island: — 

Jains, Lingayats or Buddhists 1,902 

Brahmins ... 6,936 

Hindus of other castes 289,995 

Mahommedans „ 124,115 

Parsis ( over-rated ) , 114,698 

eJ 6WS ••• c«« •■• m»m •«• ••• •■■ ••• ••• 1,1 Ua 

Native Christians 7,456 

Indo-Britons 1,333 

Indo-Portuguese 5,417 

Pure Europeans ( including soldiers ) ■ 5,008 

Sidi, Negro-Africans ... 889 

Other castes ... , 7,118 

Total ... 666,119 

Sir Bartle Frere, who recognised that no attempt at sanitary improvement could 
be initiated, without first obtaining some tolerably accurate estimate of population, decided 
to havo a census taken in the year 1864. The opposition to the measure, manifested by 
ihe Home Government, has become a matter of history ; but the Governor was persuaded 
of its utility ; and entrusted the -task to the then Health Officer, Dr. Leith. As wag 
only natural, a very considerable increase of population was recorded : for swarms of ad- 
venturers from all parts of India and from abroad had been attracted to the city by the 
speculative enterprise which marked the season of unexampled prosperity enjoyed by Bombay 
during, the American War; and ''vast numbers of labourers and artisans had flocked frpm 
the mofussil in consequence of the demand for, and the high prices of, labour. " The 
figure recorded was 816,562, out of which 783,980 represented the city population, and 
32,582 the "harbour population." "No scheme," remarked Dr. Hewlett in his report of 
1872, 'was too grand for the promoters of Companies in those days, and labour of all 
kinds was in great request. The city was literally crammed with men, women and children, 
for whom there was not sufficient house-accommodation ; and the consequent overcrowding 
of a great part of the people was excessive." The total number of occnpied houses was 
stated to be 25,994 for the whole island ; and in the Market, Dongri, Dhobi Talao and 
Girgaum sections, the number of families to a two-storeyed house, averaged from 3'7I 
to 9'42 • while the number of persons to each house ranged from 39 to 83. The following 
instance of overcrowding was witnessed by Dr. Leith, at the time the census was taken : — 
■" In a lane, 9 feet wide, the houses on each side were of two or of three floors, and the various 
rooms were densely peopled, and the floors of the verandahs were fully occupied, while to 
«ke out the accommodation in some of the verandahs there were charpoys or cots slung up 
and screened with old matting, to form a second tier of sleeping-places for labourers, who 
were employed in the day-time at the Railway Terminus and elsewhere." Such was 1864 
in the city. But fortunately for the well-being of the community, these conditions did not 
ast. After the financial crash occurred, aod company after company collapsed, "the 
labourers who had been engaged in reclamation and other works were discharged, and 
finding no further employment in Bombay, returned to their villages in the interior. " 


By the year 1872, "it had beoome evident to all," as the census officer of that date 
remarked, "but especially to those whose avocations called them into the labour quarters 
of the town, that a decrease in population had taken place, and that the figures, as shown 
in the Census Report of 1864, no longer gave a trustworthy approximation to the num- 
bers of the inhabitants." In consequence the census of 1872 was undertaken, at the 
instance and under the guidance of the Municipal Commissioner, and resulted in the 
enumeration of a population of 644,405. Maclean, commenting upon the result, remarks 
that " the disproportion between the sexes is extraordinary, there being 399,716 males to 
244,689 females ; and it is partly attributed, with good reason, to the fact that the census 
was taken in the winter months of the year, '' when the fixed population is annually much 
augmented by an influx of men, who come from their villages for the purposes of trade 
and in search of service, and who do not bring their wives and families with them. The 
Soortees and Indo-Portuguese, too, from among whom the class of domestic servants is chiefly 
recruited, hardly ever have their wives with them." 

'' Nowhere else probably in the world, not even in Alexandria, are so many and such 
striking varieties of race, nationality, and religion represented as in Bombay, Not only is there 
great diversity of type among the Hindoos, the Banian of Gujarat differing as widely in appear- 
ance and manners from the Maratha of the Deccan, as the Englishman differs from the Italian ; 
not only do the Mahommedans include, besides Indian Musalmans, many Afghans, Pemans, Arabs, 
Turks, Malays and Abyssinians ; not only are colonies of Jews and Armenians to be found 
among this motley population ; but the city is the head-quarters of the thriving and prolific race 
of Parsis, and contains many thousand Indo-Portuguese inhabitants. To crown all, there are 
the European inhabitants, engaged either in the service of Government, or in professional 
or mercantile pursuits— a class of the community not strong in numbers, but supreme in 
political and social power." The population of 1872 was officially classified under the 
following heads : — 


Buddhists or Jains 




Hindoos of other castes 

Hindoo out-castes 


Negro- Africans • 


Jews ... . 

Nati^-e Christians and Goanese 






Percentage to 





















All races and castes ... 644,405 10000 

This motley of tribes, castes and races was housed in 29,691 dwellings. Notwithstanding 
the fact that the number of houses in the Island had increased since 1864 by 4,027, aad that the 
population had decreased by 172,157, overcrowding was still excessive, and moved Dr. Hewlett to 
remark that " what has been said of Scotland may with equal truth be applied to Bombay, that 
families instead of living on the earth in the pure air with the sky over their dwellings, in many 
, instances prefer lying stratum over stratum in flats opening into a common staircase, a ' con- 
tinuation of the street,' as it has been called, which receives the organic emanations of the families 
on each floor." 

It is not a pleasant picture, this, of the conditions of life in the city of 1872 : but, 
fortunately, the evils which resulted from the frenzied progress of the period were counterbalanced 
by the good which accrued therefrom ; and in the years that followed, increased science 



in sanitation, combined with a keen desire for the common good, assisted in minimising the 
dangers which attended the elevation of Bombay to tliat pinnacle of greatnesp, upon which 
she is now proudly seated. 

In taking leave of this most important portion of Bombay history, we would touch 
upon three facts of general interest, which testify, each in its own way, to the change which 
came over the island during these years. Firstly, we note a considerable growth of 
handicrafts : there are silk-looms near the Babula Tank, and in the Jail Road, which produce 
many a Sari, choli, pagadi or waistcoat ; gold and silver thread is manufactured and used 
for embroidery in two or three localities ; a poor quality of packing paper is prepared from 
fibres ; while " very good boots and shoes, saddles, bags, &c., are made in the European fashion 
by native workmen under European superintendence." The precious metals are fused and beaten 
into ornaments by over 2,0 UO goldsmiths, ''who find constant and lucrative employment"; 
300 jewellers cater to the public .demand for pearls, diamonds and emeralds ; carved black- 
wood furniture has became celebrated ; Madras workmen have journeyed hither, and supply 
" a most attractive reed-mattiug," which seems likely to supersede the China matting, hitherto 
in vogue ; copper cooking pots and other utensils of universal use are supplied by hundreds 
in the Copper Bazaar, opposite the Mumbadevi Tank, " the busiest and noisiest street in the 
native town." The supply of carriages, '' inferior in elegance, indeed, to the best vehicles 
from Long Acre, but of substantial and good workmanship " keeps many a man employed ; 
the BycuUa and Parol Railway workshops manufacture all kiuds of rolling stock, except 
-engines ; great progress has been made in the iron industry, so that, " with the important 
exception of machinery, there is hardly any description of iron work which cannot be manu- 
factured in Bombay." Even ivory and sandalwood carving, and the manufacture of tortoise- 
shell armlets for women, can be seen in process of completion amid the dark by-ways and cross- 
Janes of the native town. The industrial importance of the island had fully kept pace with 
architectural embellishment and with its physical expansion. 

Secondly, one notes a growing tendency to travel on the part of the native population, 
a tendency which arose, perhaps, naturally from improvement of communications between 
England, India and China. There was ' the editor of the Hindu Harbinger ' who sailed for 
England in 1854 ; a Nagar Brahmin in 1860, who desired to study the English educational 
system ; and two gentlemen of the Bania community, who left India in 1866 to found a 
firm in England. To China there sailed members of the Khoja, Marwadi, and Borah 
■communities, whose names it is perhaps unnecessary to repeat. In most cases these 
adventurous spirits returned after a short time ; but the fact that they essayed the dangers of 
ihe deep, with the full conviction, in some cases, that they would be outcasted by their spiritual 
leaders or gurus, seems to us proof of the fact that the wealthier portion of the native community 
was becoming imbued with the spirit of progress, which animated its English rulers. 

Thirdly^ we remark in the year 1862, an event, which the contemporary press 
•characterised as a " Triumph over Public Immorality " — ^the Maharaja Libel Case. Into 
the history of the Vallabacharyas, into the tale of credulity and corruption, license and 
degradation, elicited by cross-examination, it is not our purpose to enter • nor is there 
-occasion to trace the gradual conversion of the high-toned mysticism of the early Hindu religion 
into a debasing and anthropomorphic superstition. The real importance of the case is shadowed 
forth in the concluding portion of the judgment delivered by Sir Joseph Araould. " This trial, " 
remarked the learned judge, " has been spoken of as having involved a great waste of the public 
time. I cannot quite agree with that opinion. No doubt much time has been spent in hearing this 
■oause, but I would fain hope it has not been all time wasted. It seems impossible that this matter 
shoiild have been discussed thus openly before a population so intelligent as that of the natives 
of Western India, without producing its results. It has probably taught some to think 5 it must 
have led many to enquire. It is not a question of theology that has been before us ! it is a 
question of morality. The principle for which the defendant and his witnesses have been 
■contending is simply this — that what is morally wrong cannot be theologically right — that when 


practices which sap the very foundations of morality, which involve a violation of the eternal 
and immutable laws of Right — are established in the name and under the sanction of Religion, 
they ought, for the common welfare of society, and in the interest of humanity itself, to be 
publicly denounced and exposed. They have denounced — they have exposed them. At a risk 
and at a cost which we cannot adequately measure, these men have waged determined battle 
against a foul and powerful delusion. They have dared to look custom and error boldly in the 
face, and proclaim before the world of their votaries that their evil is not good, that their lie is 
not the truth. In thus doing, they have done bravely and well. It may be allowable to express 
a hope that what they have done will not have been in vain, that the seed they have sown will 
bear its fruit, that their courage and consistency will be rewarded by a steady increase in the 
number of those, whom their words and their example have quickened into thought, and 
animated to resistance, whose homes they have helped to cleanse from loathsome lewdness, and 
whose souls they have set free from a debasing bondage." The public conscience had indeed 
been stirred to its very depths ; the native community of "Western India were beginning to discern 
the truth of the maxim, which Carlyle openly preached, that ' A lie cannot live ' ; and to realise 
that both for the individual and the community it is well to " have no fellowship with the un- 
fruitful works of darkness." 

It is time to close the narrative of these years. We leave Bombay in happiest plight, 
looking out hopefully upon the future. Commercial stability has not suffered from the delirium 
of the early sixties ; the advancement of the Railway system bids fair to render her the outlet 
for the exports of the larger part of Hindustan ; her magnificent and capacious harbour has 
not been sensibly injured for the last two hundred years, either by the forces of nature 
or by the hand of man, while it has been explored and defined with greatest accuracy. The 
bunders and places for the loading or storage of merchandise are extending ; and that 
so carefully, that there is little danger of the anchorage being impaired, as happened in 
Phoenician land reclamations at Tyre and Sidon. The city, though huge, is not, on the whole, 
unhealthy ; its water-supply is assured • the scientific endeavours to facilitate its drainage, under 
the auspices of a Government representing the spirit of the times, promise great sanitary 
improvement. Architecture, as an art, has made its appearance ; streets and dwellings are being 
illuminated with gas. Finally, the character of the island has changed : the Company has 
passed away, its life-work ended : and Bombay is now one of the strongest outposts of a wide 
empire, the devoted adherent of a " Queen of Isles " who " stretches forth, in her right hand 
ihe sceptre of the sea, and in her left the balance of the earth." 


Period the Ninth.— 1872 to 1861. 

The nine years that elapsed between the dates of Dr. Hewlett's enumeration, and that 
carried out by Surgeon-Lieutenant-Oolonel Weir, wore charaoteriseiJ by quiet and steady 
progress. They witnessed no sudden and unparalleled access of wealth, no estraordinary influx 
of population, such as rendered a previous period remarkable ; but rather a gradual growth in 
the number of inhabitants, occasioned by advance of trade, growth of public works, and the 
unremitting attention paid to the geaeral convenience and comfort of the community. 

Before alluding to the improvements carried out in these years, one noteworthy change 
in the status of our city and island deserves mention. In 1877 her late Majesty the Queen of 
Great Britain and Ireland was declared Empress of India ; and Bombay, which in 1858 had 
become a Royal City, ranked from that day forfcli as an Imperial possession. Mahommedan 
rulers of Gujarat had yielded her to the Portuguese in 1534 ; the latter had been succeeded by 
the representatives of the British Crown in 1661 ; and seven years later the merchants of London 
had gained her as their own. But destiny willed that her status should increase, even as her 
wealth and population expanded ; that to her social and commercial importance should be added 
the prestige, which inclusion in a world-wide empire can alone afford. Long may she hold her 
proud position, mindful ever of tho duties which her imperial character imposes ! 

The increase of population, lecorded in 1882, was partially assured by the continued 
improvement of communications. The Great Indian Peninsula and the Bombay, Baroda & 
Central India Railways threw out fresh lines, linked themselves with other and more remote 
rail -roads, until the island became the central, terminus of a series of arterial railways, radiating in 
various directions across the continent of India. Communication by sea became yet more regular ; 
its advantages acquired more celebrity among the dwellers in the coast-hamlets : news of 
the city, and of the means of livelihood which it afforded, was thereby spread further afield. 
One of the most curious features of the census of 1881 was the rapid rise of the female 
population of the city. The immigration, to which a total increase of 128,791 was chiefly 
due, wa? " not solely an adult male immigration." The women had been tempted by easy and 
rapid , communications, both by -land and sea, to accompany their menkind from tho plains 
of the Deccan, from Cutch and from the villages that lay along the coast. In previous years, 
the men had sallied . forth alone, had dared not risk the peace, perhaps the lives, of their wives 
and children in a journey to the unknown city : but by 1881, the steam-boat and " the fire- 
carriage " had done their work ; and the women of the Deccan, Konkan and Gujarat bad 
come to share their masters' fortunes in the factory and the docks. 

Trade increased steadily during these years. For the .three years, 1870 to 1872, 
Bombay exports averaged 24 crores, her imports 12 crores ; between 1880 and 1882 they 
respectively averaged 27 crores and 17 crores. Her exports of wheat rose from a triennial 
average of 150 tons in 1870-72 to 231,402 tons in 1880-82 ; of linseed from 4,766 tons to 
76,685 tons ; of rapeseed from 1,416 tons to 19,781 tons; and of gingelly from 685 tons to 
37,433 tons. And ever as her trade increased, there were new demands for labour, new 
opportunities for the up-country villager to earn a livelihood. Hence arose the spectacle of 
a Maratha popxilation enormously expanded since 1872, and forming 22'86 per cent, of the 
total population ; for " whether in the prolonged labour of the factory, or in the severe toil 
of the dock, the frugal and brave-hearted Maratha is the chief toiler." To the increase 
of commerce the Municipal Corporaticyi alluded with just pride in an address presented 
to His Majesty the King-Emperor, on the occasion of his visit to the city in November 
1877. "Bombay," said the city fathers, "may lay claim to the distinction of being a Eoyal 
City ; for this island first became an appanage of the Crown of England, through forming part 
of the dowry of Charles the Second's Portuguese bride ; and during the two centuries that have 
eJapsed since then, Bombay has had every reason to be grateful for this fortunate change 
in her destiny. From a barren rock, whose only wealth consisted in cocoanuts and dried 
fish, whose scanty population of 10,000 souls paid a total revenue to the State of not more 
than £6,000 a year, whose trade was of less value than that of Thana and Bassein, and whose 


oKinate was so deadly to Europeans that two monsoons were said to be the age of a man, 
sue Has blossomed into a fair and wholesome city, with a population which makes her 
raok next to London amono; the cities of the Britisli Empire, with a municipal revenue 
amounting to £30,000 a year, and with a foreign commerce worthy forty-five millions and 
yieldmg m customs-duties to the Imperial Treasury three millions a year." 

'^^^'^ mill-industry also increased apace during these years. In 1861 there were some 
195,673 spindles and 2,700 looms at work; in 1875 the number of spindles was computed 
^806,705 and of looms at 7,754. The number of cotton-mills in 1872 was 12, by 1875 
ftey had increased to 17, and by 1879 to 30 ; and in addition to them, were several minor 
factories, of which detailed information no longer exists. The foundation of each new mill 
OT new press, the opening of each new spinning or weaving department, augmented the 
numbers of the operative population ; so that, by 1882, 31,812 persons, or 8-4 per cent., of the 
total industrial community were returned as mill-workers. 

But the growth of trade and cotton-spinning and weaving industries did not alone 

contribute to swell the total of the island's inhabitants. Building and reclamation were 

steadily proceeding. We read of new markets built at Mazagon in 1875 • of the Dhobi's lines 

on the Esplanade being acquired for new railway buildings ; of house-building which, " though 

progressing at the rate of about 300 new houses a year, does not seem to be checked by, and 

perhaps tends to produce a fall in rents '"; of numerous ill-lighted and damp dwellings, notably 

in the Kamathipura district, being removed to make way for well-built chals and substantial 

houses. New police-stations were erected at Pydhoni and Bazar Gate during these years ; 

churches, temples and mosques sprang into existence; and the construction of new water 

works aided the expansion of the labouring-classes. « The Vehar Lake," writes Sir Richard 

Temple, "was found insufficient for the growing community, and the formation of an 

additional lake was undertaken in the time of my predecessors ; the work was completed in my 

time, and water was conducted to the city at a higher level than before." The Tulsi water- 

worljs were completed in 1879 ; the construction of its filter beds was still proceeding in 1881. 

Another great woi-k was the construction of the Prince's Dock, the first stone of which was 

laid by the present King Emperor in 1875. It was designed by Thomas Ormiston as part of a 

scheme for improving the whole foreshore of the harbour. "The project," remarks Sir 

Richard Temple, " was first undertaken in Sir Bartle Frere's time by the Elphinstone 

Reclamation Company. Under the administration of his successor, the Right Honorable Sir 

Seymour Fitzgerald, the property of the Company was purchased by Government, the 

scheme was enlarged, the wet dock undertaken, and a harbour trust established. Progress 

with this great work was made under his successor, Sir Philip Wodehouse. In my time 

the dock and its subsidiary works were finished and opened for traffic. It was found, however, 

that neighbouring docks, which were private property, interfered with the general management 

of the foreshore ; therefore these also were purchased for the State, and the constitution of the 

Harbour Trust was further developed after the model of the trust, which succeeds on a much 

larger scale for the Mersey at Liverpool." The Dock, which had been four years under 

construction, was opened on the Isi January 1880, having cost more than 80 lakhs of rupees, 

of which 76 lakhs were advanced by Government at 4J per cent, interest. And the earth, 

which had been excavated during the process from an area of 30 acres, was applied to the 

further reclamation of the Mody Bay foreshore. Meanwhile land-reclamation had been vigorously 

prosecuted. The Municipal reports of the period tell of " fifty acres of swamp at Sion and Coorla 

reclaimed with town-garbage, and converted into a garden, the right of cultivation being sold in 

1873 for Rs. 1,750 ; of part of the foreshore near ' The Wilderness ' being reclaimed by Dinshaw 

Petit, Esq. • of the rapid filling up of the flats near Tardeo ; of the ground thus provided being 

at once taken up for cultivation ; and of reclamation near the Arthur Road. Simultaneously 

with the construction of docks, house-accommodation, and with the provision of new areas for 

cultivation, or building, much progress was effected in internal communications. The Tramways, 

as we know them to-day, were commenced between 1872 and 1877. Some attempt at this form 

of communication had already been made in Colaba during a former period ; but a properly 



organised system was not projected till the date of Sir Philip Wodehouse's administration. By 
1875 the Company had extended their line as far as the Byculla Bridge ; in 1876 they crept 
from the Wellington Fountain to Bazar Gate Street • in the following year a line was laid 
down from their stables to the Sassoon Dock ; in 1878 they travelled up the Girgaum Eoad from 
the Esplanade to Portuguese Church Street ; and in the last year of this period, a line was laid 
from the old " footwash, " Pydhowni, via Bapu Khote Street to the Grant Eoad Bridge. The 
demand for label r ras further enhanced by the opening of new roads under the auspices of the 
Municipality. OKmballa Hill, two or three roads on Malabar Hill, the Fuller, Wodehouse and 
MayoEoads, Hope Street, Musjid Bunder Station Road, and communications between the Bandstand 
and Colaba Overbridge were opened-tothe public in 1874. Streets were widened in 58 localities, 
footpaths were constructed in the Grant and Falkland Eoads in the following year : Beach Road 
Magdalii Eoad, Napier Eoad, Kazi Syed Street, Chinch Bunder 2nd Eoad, Shaikh Ali Jenjikar 
Street were ready byl875 ; Aunesley Road, Kamathipura 15th Street, Trimbak Parasharam 
Street, and Memonwada Eoad had all become busy thoroughfares by 1876. In 1878 the Arthur 
Eoad had been improved ; Mahim was benefited by the opening of the Prabhadevi Eoad • a 
thoroughfare guided the traveller to the old Worli Fort. One reads of new communication 
betweon Blazagon, Frere Eoad, and Lawrence de Lima Street ; of the opening of Gibbs Eoad 
in connection with the Malabar Hill Eeservoir in 1879; of extensions to Mathew and Frere 
roads in 1881. Even the old pathway of the pilgrims, the Siri or " Ladder", was taken in hand, 
and converted into a satisfactory thoroughfare for foot-passengers. Yet, this activity notwith- 
standing, the task was incomplete ; for ' the provision of adequate trade routes in connection 
with the rapidly increasing business of the docks is now one of the most important wants of the 
city, especially in the Mandvi quarter, where the old and narrow streets are choked with trafi&c, 
struggling to and from the warehouses and quays. ' " So wrote the Commissioner in 1881. 
The labourer was sure of employment for many years to come. 

The progress of house-building, the execution of public works, the erection of new mills, 
during this period, left their mark upon the population of the Island. Not only did special 
classes, such as the wood and timber merchants and wood-sellers, receive additions to their 
numerical strength, but of the whole population of the Island, 27 per cent, only were returned in 
1881 as having been born in Bombay. Great had been the immigration of the industrial classes, 
16 per cent, of the whole population hailing from Ratnagiri, 8 per cent, from Poena, 5 per cent, 
from Satara and 5 per cent, from Outch. New mosques and new temples testified to the presence 
of new-comers • for the seventy-six mosques of 1872 had increased in 1882 to ninety-three, t];ie 
Hindu temples from 176 to 209. 

Another noteworthy result of these years' administration was a very large increase of the 
infant population, which one would ascribe in some measure to the labours of the Health Depart- 
ment and to the promotion of the general cpmfort of the inhabitants of the island. Children under 
one year of age had increased by 96 per cent, in 1882 ; those between 6 and 12 years by 62 per 
cent. • and those between 12 and 20 by 40 per cent. ! And this had happened in spite of a terrible 
outbreak of small-pox in 1876, of the immigration of very large bodies of famine refugees in 1877, 
thirty-six thousand of whom entered the city in a destitute and diseased condition between August 
15th and September 30th in that year. The Lancet of that year remarked that, " as a consequence 
of the wide-spread scarcity, if not famine, which as a result -of the failure of the monsoon rains of 
last year is now causing so much anxiety to the Governments of Bombay and Madras, large num- 
bers of poverty-stricken people have flocked to the already overcrowded city of Bombay; and 
gravitating into the worst and most unhealthy localities, have by increasing largely the population 
per square mile, set up those conditions which in every partof the world, under like circumstances, 
give rise to epidemic disease." Phthisis also claimed many victims in Khara Talao and other 
flections : a severe cholera epidemic swept through the city in 1881 . But the Department of Public 
Health was at work, combating disease and doing all in its power to render the city more 
sanitary and to preserve infant life. Eegular conservancy was in force ; old cemeteries, such as 
that of the Chinese in Suklaji Street, were closed ; new sites for burial grounds, such as those 
near Ue Lisle Eoad for Musulman and Hindu, were set apart beyond the crowded lanes of the 


'City The^mortelity at Mahim and Parel was lessened by the removal of the baneful Dadnr 

Tu n' i!^ ^'^^ *'^''''°*'^ '° '^°'*^'^ administration took place in the matter of cattle- 
^tables, which, by reason of neglect or perfunctory supervision only, had till 1879 poisoned the 
^ir ot many a crowded street. By the year following, seventeen of the worst had been removed 
■trom the ground floor of human habitations in Bhuleshvar ; regular supervision of all such 
fundings had been instituted ; and .a list of penalties for all infringements of requirements had 
•been brought mto force. Systematic drainage of the island was also attempted. " Much bad 
already been done, " writes Sir Eichard Temple, " at great cos# and labour for the drainage of 
the city } still a mass of sewage entered the harbour to the great detriment of all concerned. So 
additional drainage works were undertaken for diverting the sewage to a quarter where it would 
not be hurtful." In bis administration reports for 1875 and 1876 the Health Officer had vigorously 
-advocated the drainage scheme prepared by Mr. Pedder and Major TuUoch, "and had never 
ceased to proclaim in the ears of the citizens the dangers of further delay." The Town Council 
and the f^orporation were as eager for improvement as the Health Officer. Finally, as we learn 
froniMr. Ac worth's monograph upon this subject, " Sir Eichard Temple's Government addressed 
the Municipality, drawing their immediate attention to the necessity for the provision of additional 
<lrainage for the city, and adding that there seemed to be a consensus of opinion as to the urgency 
•of certain evils, and the mode of remedying them." A special commission was appointed • its report 
was received in the early portion of 1878 ; the Municipality at once resolved to sanction " the im- 
mediate commencement and vigorous prosecution of the approved scheme"; a loan of 27 lakhs was 
raised ; and on the 17th December in the same year the task of laying a new main sewer from 
€arnac Bunder to Love Grove, a number of pipe sewers connected with it, and a new outfall 
sewer, pumping station and pumping plant, at Love Grove, Worli, was initiated. 

Among the general measures adopted by the Corporation for the convenience of the 
public were the extension of lighting and opening of public gardens. In 1865 the total 
number of gas lamps in the Island was 220 ; by 1874, they numbered 2,415. We read of 
■Queen's Road being supplied with 72 lamps in 1875, of Mahim and the Elphinstone Estate 
being lighted in the following year, of the French and Mathew Eoads being lighted with gas 
in 1881. Oil lamps were necessarily used to a considerable extent, but were being gradually 
supplanted by the labours of the Gas Company. In 1873 the site of the Victoria Gardens, 
which had originally passed to the Agri-horticultural Society in exchange for land at Sewri, 
was presented to the Municipality by Government, for conversion into a public garden : the 
Elphinstone Circle Garden was described "as flourishing and ornamental"; and in 1874 the 
Northbrook Gardens near Grant Eoad and Trimbak Parasharam Street came into existence, and 
found much favour, as a place of mild recreation, with the poorer inhabitants of Kumbharvada and 
-the neighbouring localities. One can hardly, perhaps, boast that the Victoria Gardens have gained 
as great distinction as that old Portuguese garden in the Fort, which was " voiced to be the plea- 
santest in India" ; but no one, who visits the former on a Sunday or holiday, can fail to remark 
how greatly the native community — rich and poor, young and old — appreciates such a retreat. 
The general results of the census of J 881 were embodied in the following table : — 


No. of Persons. 

Percentage of 
total population. 

-Jain .. ... ,^ 




Hindus of other castes 

Hindu, low castes 



JtTarSl •■• ••• ••• •■• ••* ••• •■• ••• ■•■ 

■*l6w ■«• ■■■ •■• ••* >•• ••■ ••• ••• ••• 

Native Christian and Goanese... 
































Further statistics need find no place here for they are available in Colonel Weir's report 
to such as desire to delve deeper into the circumstances of the population during these years. But 
one fact, to which contemporary reports frequently refer, was the great poverty of the bulk 
of the population. Marathas, Musalmans, Native Christians, Kolis, Bhandaris and Mahars are 
characterised as the poorest classes in a city, wherein "the poverty of the great masses is 
incredible " ; wherein, also, the bulk of the people " lives upon a starvation diet " ; wherein, 
" a dozen families herd together in houses, only large enough to contain one." Nowroji Hill, 
for example, should have been one of the healthiest spots in Bombay ; yet its denizens, poor and 
ill-fed, were " almost choking one another in their miserable abodes." The Colaba Bazaar was 
filled with " a motley and improvident population." The squalor of Kamathipura and Khara 
Talao increased the diflficulties of Municipal officers in fighting phthisis and fevers. House and 
street-ventilation were almost unknown in the Northern portions of the Fort ; Chakla, Bhuleshwar 
and Oomerkhary were replete with ill-conditioned and reeking dwellings, upon which the 
reformer of these years would have instantly painted the damnatory letters U. H. H. The 
Municipality strove hard during these years to minimise in one way or another the dangers, to 
which such conditions gave rise • promulgated orders, confining "the storage of hides and shark- 
fins to Dharavi and Sewri Bunder " ; insisted upon " pigs being kept in properly-adapted places 
apart from dwellings " ; and, as we have before remarked, purged many a locality of pestilence- 
breeding cattle-stables. Considering the epidemics, which occurred during the period, we must 
admit that their campaign met with tolerable success. They could scarcely be expected within the 
space of 9 years to obviate all the dangers and disabilities which had arisen fi-om a very sudden 
colonisation of the city on a large scale, and which were intensifiied by constant immigration 
subsequent to that event. Much improvement yet remained to be effected in succeeding years. 

The general prosperity of the island continued unabated ; and Sir Richard Temple thus- 
sums up its condition during the years of his governorship. " The City of Bombay itself with 
its vast and varied interests, and its fast growing importance, claimed constant attention. The 
police, under the able management of Sir Frank Souter, was a really efficient body and popular 
withal. The public structures, begun or designed under Sir Bartle Frere's administration, were 
advanced towards completion ; and although these shewed a goodly array, still not a year passed 
without several new buildings being undertaken, as the demands of an advancing community in 
a great seaport are incessant. The stream of native munifi.Genee continued to flow, though 
somewhat diminished in comparison with former times by reason of agricultural and commercial 
depression consequent on the famine. A marble statue of the Queen had been erected by the 
Native community on the Esplanade. Sir Albert Sassoon presented to the city a bronze 
equestrian statue of the Prince of Wales, in memory of the visit of His Eoyal Highness. The 
New Sailors' Home, built partly through the munificence of Khande Rao, Gaekwar of Baroda,, 
in honour of the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, had become a noble 
institution. The new wet dock, accommodating the largest ships, was named " the Prince's 
Dock," because the first stone of it was laid by the Prince of Wales." 

" The elective principle had been introduced into the Municipality of Bombay by Sir 
Seymour FitzGerald and established by Sir Philip Wodehouse ; and I found it to operate 
advantageously. The citizens and ratepayers exercised their franchise judiciously, electing good 
and able men, Europeans and Natives, to serve on the Municipal Corporation." 

"The resources of Bombay were tested when in 1878 au expeditionary force was des- 
patched to Malta. Within fourteen days after the receipt of orders from the Governor-General 
in Council (Lord Lytton), the Bombay Government, (of which Sir Charles Staveley, then 
Commander-in-Chief, was a member) engaged 48,000 tons of merchant shipping, then in the 
harbour, despatched 6,000 men and 2,000 horses, with two months' supplies of provisions and six 
weeks' supply of water. They all arrived at their destination in good condition, and after some 
months returned equally well ; still, the risks attending the navigation of the Red Sea, with 
sailing ships towed by steamers, caused us anxiety." The Marine Department has ever main- 
tained a high reputation for celerity in the despatch of expeditions or reinforcements. We heard 


of them in 1801, when Sir David Baird started for Egypt. Sir Richard Temple complemented 
them upon the signal service rendered on the occasion of the Malta expedition ; and yet more 
modern residents of Bombay have viewed with something of surprise and certainly with pride, 
the dexterity and speed with which men, horses and stores, were sent forth from this port, to 
save a serious situation in South Africa. 


Pbriqd a;HB Tenth. — 188110 1891. 

The decade pfecedltfg the census of 1891, during which the population of the island rose 
from 778,196 to 821,764, was mainly remarkable for an increase of the trade of the port, and 
i'oi the foundation of educational and other institutions by private liberality. Municipal Govern- 
ment, also, was subjected to improvements, calculated to reader it more capable and more re- 
presentative of an age of progress. Established originally, as we have remarked, on its modern 
basis in the year 1856, it had been modified or developed by the subsequent measures of 1865, 
1872, and 1878 ; until at the time when Lord Keay's Government undertook to legislate, the 
constitutional law of Bombay City was embodied in eleven separate enactments. " The first 
purpose of the new Bill, " remarks Sir William Hunter, " was to consolidate the law, but in doing 
so important alterations were introduced. Its provisions, drafted by Mr. J. E. Naylor, aided by 
Mr. (aow Sir Charles) Ollivant, the Municipal Commissioner, were divided into twenty-one 
chapters. At first received with strenuous opposition, it was carefully revised by a Select Com- 
mittee of the Legislative Council, with whose members Lord Reay discussed the alterations. 
It eventually passed with general approval. One of the chief modifications introduced during its 
passage was the regulation for handing over the primary schools to the Municipal Corporation." 
The new code could, indeed, claim to be the most complete that had yet been elaborated. Long- 
needed improvements were introduced into the regulations afiecting drainage, water works 
and other sanitary matters ; the procedure relating to the registration and assessment of 
properties was systematized ; exemptions from liability to taxes in respect of immoveable property 
were restricted • and better security was given for the recovery of arrears. 

The Municipality throughout the entire period was actively engaged in rendering the island 
better suited to the needs of a population, augmented by the immigration of labourers and artisans. 
Ground was from time to time purchased for the widening of streets ; the Fergusson Road from 
Worli to Parol was stated to be almost completed in 1884 ; the Ripon Road had been marked 
out ; the Girgaum Road had been widened. The Charni Road was carried as far as the Falkland 
Road in 1885 ; and several old houses at the corner of Gunbow Lane and Hornby Row were 
demolished, in order to open a new road into the crowded portion of the Fort. One reads of 
improvements to the Thakurdvar and Tardeo roads in the following year, and of the formation of 
a large circle on the Flats, formerly known as the Central Station, but henceforward to be called 
" Jacob's Circle, " in memory of General Le Grand Jacob, and to be adorned with an ornamental 
fountain, provided by public subscription. Sankli Street was opened in 1887; new com- 
munications were constructed between Sewri Cemetery and the Jackeria Bunder thoroughfare, 
between Lady Jamsetji Road and Matunga, between the El phinstone Bridge and Dongri Street 
via Nowroji Hill. Seventy-three thousand rupees were disbursed in the year 1889-90 alone, for 
the sole purpose of street-improvement, and are evidence of a protracted endeavour to benefit the 
localities, which had expanded by the constant influx of an industrial population. The Kamathi- 
pura region would suffice as an instance of what was effected by Municipal Government during 
this and the previous decade; and was pointed to with pride iu 1891 as a locality vastly improved 
by the provision of numerous roads and streets, and of drainage. 

The subject of drainage was as keenly followed as in the preceding period. In 1881 the 
Commissioner laid before the Corporation proposals for an expenditure of 33 lakhs for sewerage, 
of 9 lakhs for surface drainage, and of 10| lakhs for house-connections. Queen's Road was 
supplied with a great sewer, which the Executive Engineer, " working with exti-aordinary energy 
and favoured by a late monsoon, " was able to complete in 1884 ; extensions were laid down 
from the Crawford Markets to the Mint, along the Ripon Road, and across the Agripada district ; 
the Fort, in which drainage arrangements had become either obsolete or ruinous, was, in spite of 
di£Bculties with contractors, completely provided for by the year 1889 ; Khetwadi, Gilder Street, 
the DeLisle and Arthur Roads, the Marine Lines and other localities were subjected to similar 
improvements ; while on the 10th February 1882, the Corporation sanctioned an expenditure of 
Rs. 12,12,250 upon a comprehensive scheme for the disposal of storm- water and for surface 
drainage. The Commissioner, writing in 1886, speaks of the storm-water works as practically 


Wiete, and adds that" the banefioial result of these works aad of raising the Klietwadi and 

matn.pura roads is incontestable, and has bean amply proved in the exceptionally heavy rains 

e monsoon, which is now terminating. Places, which formerly were knee-deep in water for 

inany hours after a comparatively moderate fall of rain, are now dry in a very short space of 

ime ; and the nuisance, which has always existed on the Flats during certain months, has now 

been much reduced by the new arrangements." 

At the outset of this period, the water-supply of the city stiU fell short of perfection. In 
consequence, we read of the Bandarwada water-works and of filter-beds at Malabar Hill being 
completed m 1884, of Mr. Tomlinson's scheme for works in the Pa wai Valley being- put into 
-• h^l^^ ^^ ^^^^ 1889-90. But these improvements were of minor importance in comparison 
w^th the Great Tansa Waterworks, which were commenced about the middle of the decade. Sir 
dham Hunter, characterising the project as the most important undertaking of the years 
1885 to 1890, observes that : « The city was and is, for the present, supplied with water from the 
Vehar and Tuisi Lakes. But the growth of the population has been so rapid that the supplies 
to)m these sources, though comparatively recently provided, soon proved inadequate. The 
Municipality, therefore, decided on the 19th November ISS.-i, to adopt a magnificent project 
that will provide the city with an inexhaustible water-supply. The scheme, when carried out, 
will afford another splendid proof of the public spirit of the citizens of Bombay, and the skill 
of English Engineers." The Tansa works were finally opened in the year 1891-92 by the 
Marquis of Lansdowne, who, referring to the magnitude and benefits of the achievement, con- 
gratulated Bombay upon the true measure of Municipal Self-Go vernment, which she had been 
the first amoi:g all cities in India to introduce. 

Of other matters, connected with the welfare of the people, in which the Municipality 

played a prominent part, we may note the extension of education and the provision of an Asylum 

for the homeless leper population. In 1872 the contributions by the Corporation towards 

primary education amounted only to Rs. 8,500 : in 1882 they had risen to Es. 22,500 ; in 

1886-87 to Rs. 31,374 ; and during the closing year of the decade they had been again increased 

to Rs. 39,500. Contemporaneous with the passing of the new Municipal Act was the institution 

of the Joint Schools Committee for the management of primary education in the city, which 

contained 32 Marathi and 30 Gujarathi schools in the year 1890. We hear of grants made to 

schools for deaf-mutes ; of a sum of Rs. 80,000 sanctioned in aid of the Victoria Jubilee 

Technical Institute, which was founded by Lord Reay's Government for practical instruction in 

the mechanical industries, and was destined to be the normal school for teachers of technical 

education throughout the Presidency. The period was indeed one of progress, in most matters 

connected with Municipal Administration. Tramway communications were greatly extended ; 

fresh roads wore lighted every year ; contracts were sanctioned for lighting the Crawford 

Markets and the Prince's Dock by Electricity ; special sums were set apart for the disposal of 

■the dead bodies of Hindu paupers, and for the erection of special and temporary cholera 

hospitals in 1883 : a small-pox hospital was built in 1887, and 39,000 rupees were voted for 

the erection of a similar building in the Arthur Road. Fire brigade stations were constructed ; 

taps and fountains were gradually substituted for the old and insanitary dipping wells ; and over 

87,000 rupees were spent in one year (1890-91) upon the improvement of various public gardens. 

Her late Majesty the Queen-Empress, in a reply to the address of congratulation forwarded by the 

Municipality on the occasion of her first Jubilee, described with what pleasure she had watched 

*' the progress of the great city of Bombay, and its advance not only in material prosperity, but 

also in education and in matters tending to the improved health and comfort of the people." 

The treatment of vagrant lepers had long been a vexed question between Government 
and the Murricipalitj • and was not finally settled till the year 1890, when Mr. Aeworth, the 
Municipal Commissioner, vigorously set about the collection of funds for a leper asylum. The 
public, following the lead of the late Sir Dinshaw Manekji Petit, who offered a lakh of rupees 
for the purpose, subscribed willingly ; a good site was chosen at Matunga ; and several build- 
ings were constructed. " Under an old Act of 1867, " remarked Mr. Forrest in a recent lecture, 


" Mr. Acworth, with the assistance of the Pbh'ce Commissioner, collected all the vagrant lepers 
and put them in the Asylum, and obtained a grant from the Government and Municipality for 
their maintenance, organised the staff, and personally supervised all the arrangements for their 
food, sanitation, etc. He induced rich native gentlemen to add a hospital, a Hindu 
temple, a Mahommedan mosque, and even a Roman Catholic chapel. The place is enclosed 
with a weak fence, but the lepers are perfectly happy, and never attempt to leave. The streets 
of Bombay are absolutely cleared of lepers ; and though compulsion has been objected to, 
Mr. Acworth's procedure has been approved of by most practical men ; and the Government of 
Bengal in 1895, and the Government of India in 1896, have legislated entirely on his lines. 
About 350 lepers spend their lives in absolute contentment, in Mr. Acworth's Asylum, which is 
considered the best in India. The Government of Bombay should find satisfaction in the fact 
of one of their officers having thus practically settled the vagrant leper question for the whole 
of the Indian Empire." 

But the improvement of the city during these years was not allowed to devolve entirely 
npon the Municipality. The period was remarkable for great benefactions by private citizens. 
Both charitable and educational schemes in Bombay city, as Sir William Hunter has related, 
benefited by Sir Dinshaw Petit's liberality. " In January 1888 he offered Rs. 1,25,000 for the 
erection of a Lying-in-Hospital, which sum he afterwards allowed to be used for the construc- 
tion of a Hospital for Women and Children, as an extension of the Jamsetji Jejeebhai Hospital. In 
promotion of education Sir Dinshaw presented the property known as the Hydraulic Press, 
valued at three lakhs of rupees, in exchange for the Elphinstone College buildings which were 
converted into the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute. He likewise gave Rs. 16,419 for the 
construction of a Patho Bacteriological Laboratory in connection with the Veterinary College at 
Parel, and Rs. 6,000 towards the erection of Gymnastic Institution in Bombay. Coming to 
other benefactors, Bai Motlibai, widow of Mr. Nowroji Wadia, gave a lakh and-a-half of rupees 
and a valuable site of 20,954 square yards, adjoining the Jamsetji Jejeebhoy Hospital, for the 
building of an obstetric hospital. Mr, Harkissondas Narottamdas gave a lakh of rupees for a 
clinical hospital for women and children ; but the conditions made by Government wore not 
acceptable to the donor, and the amount was, therefore, refunded. Mr. Framji Dinshaw Petit 
gave Rs. 75,000 for the erection of a Laboratory, fitted with the most modern appliances, in 
connection with the Grant Medical College at Bombay. The Allbless family, namely, the trustees 
of the late Bomanji Edulji Allbless, the widow of Mr. Edulji Framji Allbless, and the sons of 
Mr. Dorabji Edulji Allbless, presented amongst them Rs. 72,000 for the establishment of an 
Obstetric Hospital on land adjoining the Cama Hospital, and of a mortuary for Parsis in connection 
with it, and also (with the assistance of Rs. 5,000 from the Countess of Dufferin's Fund) for the 
building of quarters for the lady doctors of the (^ama and Allbless Hospitals. Mr. Sorabji Cowasji 
Powalla gave Rs. 31,473 for a gratuitous charitable dispensary in the Fort ; Sir M. M. Bhownag- 
gree, Rs. 15,699 for a Home for Pupil Nurses, in connection with the Jamsetji Jejeebhoy Hospital ; 
Mr. Pestonji Hormasji Cama, Es, 15,000 for nurses' quarters at the Cama Hospital ; and 
Mr. Dwarkadas Lallubhai, Rs. 10,000 for a cholera ward at the Jamsetji Jejeebhoy Hospital, which 
was utilised instead for the establishment of an out-door dispensary for women and children. 
Lastly, mention must be made of the gift of the Parsi Panchayat Fund of Rs. 2,000 for the erection 
of a separate mortuary for Parsis, in connection with the hospital, which bears the name of the best 
known member of their body." A hospital for animals at Parel was founded by Bai Sakarbai 
and opened by the Earl of Dufferin in 1884 ; Mr. Byramji Jijibhoy, C.S.I., gave a handsome 
donation in 1890 towards the establishment of an Anglo-Vernacular School for poor Parsis ; aud to 
this period also belongs the handsome fountain and clock erected in Baz;ar Gate Street to the 
memory of Bomanji Hormasji Wadia. Among other landmarks of the island, completed during 
these years, and which do not owe their existence to private benevolence and philanthropy, one 
may reniarkin particular the Victoria Terminus of the G. I. P. Railway, situated on the original 
site of the old Mumbadevi temple, near the Phausi Talao or Gibbet Pond. The old temple was 
removed by Government in 1766, in order to allow space for fresh fortifications, a new shrine 
being erected by a Sonar, Pandurang Shivaji, on the present site near Paidhoni. The old gibbet, 


however, was permitted to remain till 1805, when it was re-erected close to the Umarkhadi Jail. 
Government and the Port Trust were not behindhand in the work of improvement. The Euro- 
pean Hospital for the use of poor Europeans resident in the City and of sailors from ships in the 
port, and of railway officials and their families, had long proved insufficient • and it was therefore 
resolved by Government to erect a new European Hospital at a cost of Rs. 5,69,667 on the ruins 
of the old Fort George, to which Lord Reay, on laying the foundation stone in February 1889, 
gave the name of " St. George's Hospital." The Government Central Press, the new home of the 
Elphinstone College, and the Police Magistrates' Court were also commenced or completed during 
these years. The defences of the Harbour received attention. As the Press pointed out in 1884, 
they were in so unsatisfeetory a state as to be practically useless ; Colaba battery was untenable, 
the turret ships were not in working order, the Middle Island and Cross Batteries were inefficient, 
while the Malabar Hill and Breach Candy batteries were powerless to prevent the destruction of the 
place by any hostile squadron. But in the following year a new scheme of defence was sanctioned 
by the Government of India and carried into execution by the close of the period. 

The Port Trust, which in spite of yearly reductions of dues, showed a steady surplus of 
revenue over expenditure between 1880 and 1889, was responsible for the construction and opening 
in 1884 of a new Light-house at the entrance of the harbour and of the Victoria Dock. The Prince's 
Dock indeed proved too small for aU demands, and was, therefore, supplemented by the Victoria Dock 
of nearly the same size, and giving still greater facilities for shipping, the first sluice of which was 
opened by Lady Reay on the 21 st February 1888. "Some idea of the magnitude of the interests 
involved in the management o! the Bombay Port Trust may be formed from the statements, that its 
capital expenditure up to the close of the year 1889-90, deducting sales of land, etc., amounted 
to Es. 5,08,56,602, that its revenue for 1889-90 was Rs. 41,97,746, and its expenditure 
including interest on capital Rs. 42,83,282, and that 645 vessels entered the two docks during 
that year. " In 1891 yet another extension — ^the Merewether Graving Dock — was opened 
by H. E. the Governor. 

Other well-known buildings are the Municipal Offices, the foundation-stone of which 
was laid by Lord Ripon in December 1884 ; the Wilson College at Chowpatty, of which 
Sir James Fergusson laid the foundation in 1885 ; and the Jafar SuUman Charitable Dispensary, 
which was opened in March 1886. 

The activity in building to which private philanthropy or the progressive attitude of 
Goveri\ment and public bodies gave rise, may be considered to have indirectly affected the 
numbers of the population, by creating a demand for the labour of the poorer classes ; but its 
influence in this respect was not so superficially apparent as the eft'eot of increasing trade and 
of the growth of the cotton spinning and weaving industry. With the exception, perhaps, of 
the year 1889-90, the commercial prosperity of the island may be held to have steadily in- 
creased year by year. Taking a yearly average of three years, and excluding Government 
stores and treasure, the value of exports rose from 27 prores in 1880-82 to 33 crores in 1885-87, 
and attain to 39 crores in 1890-92 • and the value of imports from 17 crores to 22 crores 
and again to 27 crores during the same periods. The exports of wheat, linseed, rapeseed and 
oingelly also rose by an extraordinary figure ; in 1881-82 alone, the revenue of the Port Trust 
Slowed an increase of 10| lakhs above the estimated value, owing mainly to increased exports 
of grain and seeds ; the value of aU imports of cotton during the first 10 months of the year 1886 
was 240 lakhs of rupees ! Lord Reay, indeed, referred to the growth of commerce in his 
speech at the Jubilee demonstrations of 1887. « The prosperity of Bombay," said His Excellency, 
*' is certainly one of the most remarkable events of the Victorian reign. Its internal appearance 
is as much changed as its external condition. It is one of the most beautiful towns of the 
Empire— if not of the world; its sanitary condition is also vastly improved. Fifty years ago 
the exports amounted to nearly 60 millions of rupees, and the imports to little more than 47. 
In 1885-86 the exports amounted to more than 419 millions, and the imports to nearly 440 
miUioas. In 1885-86 the value of cotton exported amounted to more than 84 millions of 
rupees ; of puUeand grain to more than 43 millions. The Municipal income has risen from 


18 to 42 lakhs. The Prince's Dock wcnld do credit to any port in the world." The effect 
of such trade-progress was evident in the city proper ; for, notwithstanding that numerous 
buildings were being erected in outlying localities, such as Tardeo, Byculla and Parel, for 
reasons which we shall subsequently take note of,' every available inch of land in Mandvi, 
Oomerkhari, Dongri, Chakla, the Market, Dhobi Talao, Phanaswadi, and similar sections was 
eagerly snatched up ; and where land was not available, the piling of storeys upon old houses, 
often incapable of supporting their weight, steadily continued. Hardly a year passed, hardly a 
a monsoon set in, without some of those overweighted houses collapsing, and dealing swift 
death or injury to the inmates; as, for example in Bengalpoora in 1890, when SO persons were 
killed by the fall of one four-storeyed dwelling-house. The extension of the docks and the «x- 
paosion of trade made, and at the same time marred, the city ; for they attracted into a com- 
paratively small portion of the island the whole of the huge population, which directly or indirectly 
earned a livelihood from the commerce of the port. Hence came it that such localities as 
Pathakwadi and the Mandvi Kolivadi entirely lost their original character of hut-settlements, 
became the merest labyrinths of narrow and pestilential lanes, of crowded and sunless houses, to 
which no ingress or egress existed, save, perhaps, through the ground floOr of some more recent 
dwelling. Successive Health Officers have cried woe over these pestilence-breeding regions; but 
their voices have been as the voices of those crying in the wilderness ; the old tortuous paths are 
not yet made straight ; the population still huddles round the poisonous tracks, sleeps amid the 
foulness of sewage, breathes the miasmata that no breeze ever comes to disperse. The density 
of population in the B Ward and some portions of adjoining wards was far greater in 1887 than 
in 1881. " There is room," wrote the Health Officer of that date, "for our whole . populktioQ 
and for the greater city of the future, if only the doors of communication are opened. The 
reality to be understood is that 37 per cent, of our population live on 3J per cent, of the surface 
of the Island, that in 1 2 sections the lowest number of persons to an acre is 254, afid 
that in 5 sections covering more than half of the Island there are only 8 persons to an 
acre." One community of merchants, the Jains, had expanded enormously by 1891 ; but 
was notorious for a very high death-rate, due mainly to the fact, that, in order to get as near to 
the business centre as possible, each fresh relay of immigrnnts settled in ill-built houses, already 
containing a full complement of residents, and -the ground floors of which were in perennial 
obscurity and were built over old and dangerous drains. Mandvi, and indeed the major portion 
of the city proper, was by the close of this period pre-eminently in a position to become the 
plague-centre of the Island ; it was choked with ' population ; it vjas notorious for itg 
insanitary condition. From the year 1803, when the Oompan}* moved the old Mandvi or 
Custom' House further north, this eastern portion of the city had gradually expanded till about 
1865, when its, dimensions began to increase with amazing rapidity. Houses sprang iip storey 
upon storey, stretched towards the docks, climbed tier by tier up the old portion of the Dongri 
Kolis, closed round the pristine settlements of fisher-folk in impenetrable array, spread away to 
Dhobi Talao, Bhuleshvar, Khara Talao, and northward, till they faced the new buildings, which a 
growing mill-industry had brought and was bringinjg during this period into existence. ' 

The growth of the mill-indiistry during the decade undet review was responsible for the 
further colonisation of the areas north of the city. ■ Sot only in cotton-spinning establishments 
was an advance made, but miscellaneous factories, such as flour-mills and workshops, sprang 
into existence and helped to provide for the industrial population, which flocked frotti th« 
Beccan and Konkan. In 1881 the total number of factories in the Island was 53 ; in 1886, ft 
'had increased to 66, and in 1890 to 83. Complaints in regard to the Smoke-nuisance are fifst 
brought forward during these years, and are mentioned in the Municipal reports of 1884-85 ; Ihe 
Mill-owners' Association are reported in'^tlhe Press of 1883 to be about to despatcb travelling 
agents to various trade centres in Europe and Africa, for the purpose of opening new mdiiels 
for the piece-goods of Bombay: by 1890 we are presented with the spectacle of a Facfcrf 
Commission, assembled in Bombay, which in December of that year publishes' proposals for 
the regulation of female and dhild-labdnr. As tlie steam industries increased, a marked chkttg& 
came over localities such as BycuUh, 'Parel, Tardeo^ I'artVadi and 'even 'teiiit)te"^i8Wi; " ^ Iti- 


-«uir.erable chals sprang up north of the Bellaais Road, countte habitations for *ha immigr^nte 
.from Ratnagui, Poona, or Satdra. "There is growing up in our .pop^tion," wrote the 
Health Officerm 1887, "a class which can be distinguished from .theip own race, enga<.ed in 
other work, and from every other class, by a paUid look, which may be called a factory 
countenance." All- the open 4and in Tarden was being gradually buUt aver during these yeara • 
and as fest as the houses were built, there appeared, a population to inhabit them. Nacrpada 
«was densely peopled, with an aS^erage of 67 persons to each house : five new mills were being 
constructed in Sewn in 1889^ and were responsible in great measure for the increased population 
ofthat section in 1891. Byculla, Tarwadi and Mazagon, and all the districts north of them 
^were far more populous at the close of the decade than in 1881. Mr. Drew in his Census 
Report of 1891 notices the following curious phenomenon :—« In som-o ,of the most densely 
crowded parts of the Native Town-Umarkhadi, Dhobi Talao, Phanaswadi and Khara 
Talao— the total female population has decreased, while the number of those born in 
Bombay has mcreased. This may easily be explained, as the immigraui women are chiefly 
employed now in the parts of Bombay north of the Bellasis Road ; and wjth the extension 
of house-building there, they have moved , nearer their work, leaving more room for their 
Bombay-bred sisters in the more central portions of the island." The Press of 1890 records 
a strike of female operatives belonging to -the Jubilee Mill ; and a monster-meeting of mill- 
hands at Parol to protest against the closing of .mills for eight days in. every month. By 
the close of the decade, the Tardeo, Parel, Byculla, Tarwadi, Nugpada, and Chinchpooghly 
quarters had expanded through the forwavd march of industrial enterprise into, the populous 
dwelling places of an . immigrant labour-population— a character which they possess at the 
opening of this twentieth century. * 

The causes which led by the year 1891 to an increase of 48,568 were expansion of trad^ 
and of local steam' industries, and, to a minor extcut, the general measures taken for the public 
benefit, as exemplified in an increase of hospital accommodation, the initiation of technical educa- 
tion, the Tansa water supply scheme, and the cbmpletion of the defences of the harbour. 
Further, the period was characterised by no unusual wave of sickness, by no extraordinary form 
of disease. In some localities, it is true, , the ordinary death-rate was high ; but this was 
rendered inevitable firstly by^ the physical roharactaristics of the island, secondly by an 
unparalleled growth of population within a very short period ; for, within a space of roughly 
fifty years only, the number of inhabitants had risen by 600,000 ! The population of 1891 
was officially declared to number 821,764, the total being distributed as follows among different 

religions : — 

Hindu ... ... ... ... 543,276 

Musalman ... .,. ... ... ••. ... 15.5,247 

Christian ... ... ... ... •■• ... 45,310 

Jain 25,225 

Parsi ... ... ... ... ••• — 47,4.58 

flow ... ... ... ••• '•' '■• -OjU^i 

Others 227 

Total ... 8-21,764 

The chief points of interest were the rise in the numbers of Hindus and Jams, due 
presumably, to immigration for the purpose of factory-labour and trade, the increase of population 
in the northern and outlying sections of the island, the decrease of the indigenous population, 
both male and female, and the rise of 35,448 in the number of literates. The policy of Govern- 
ment, the labours of the Municipality, and the philanthropy of private persons had indeed borne 
fruit in the more universal education of the people ; and in point of female education alone, as 
Mr. Drew wrote, " the city ran an European country like Portugal very close." 

To one who visited Bombay after a long absence, the change in the appearance of the 
city must have been wholly extraordinary. " Bombay of to-day, " said Sir Edwin Arnold in 
1886, " is hardly recognisable to one who knew the place in the time of the Mutiny and in those 
years which followed it. Augustus said of Rome 'I found it mud ; I leave it marble ' ; and the 


visitor to India, after so long an absence as mine, might justly exclaim ' I left Bombay a town of 
warehouses and offices ; I find her a city of parks and palaces.* " The movement of the people, 
too, was noteworthy ; all tribes in Western India seemed to have flocked to Bombay, like the 
Adriatic tribes who took refuge in the city of the Lagoons, and from traditional beliefs, social 
instincts and tribal affinities, sought certain definite areas within the island. The poorer Parsi 
sought the home of his ancestors in the North Fort or Dhobi Talap ; the Yogi, the Sanyasi 
found a resting-place near the Shrines of Lakshmi, Kali, or the God of the Sands ; the Goanese, 
the Native Christian were never absent from Cavel, the old home of early converts to Boman 
Catholicism ; the Jolaha, weaver of silk, sought Madanpura ; the grain merchants were a power 
in Mandvi • the Bene-Israel owned their Samuel Street and Israel Moholk ; the dancing girls 
drifted to Khetwadi, "the scarlet woman" to Kamathipura; in the Nail Bazaar lived the 
progeny of men who fought under Sidi Sambhal ; in Parel, Nagpada and BycuUa were mill-hands 
from the Konkan and labourers from the Deccan ; many a Koliwadi, from Colaba to Sion, gave 
shelter to the descendants of earliest settlers ; the Musulman was a power in B, Ward, the Arab 
haunted Byculla ; and in Girgaum the Brahmin had made his home. 

The above-mentioned communities formed but a fractional portion of the whole medley of 
tribes, castes, or races, which dwelt in contented allegiance to a Crown, enshrined in aiiother Island, 
washed by the grey north-seas. The words spoken by Lord Reay in reference to the British 
Empii-e on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1 887 were eminently applicable to that small portion 
thereof, which men proudly acknowledged to be the capital of Western India. " This great 
Empire, " said His Excellency, " was never more united than it is at this Jubilee, but the main- 
tenance of that union wiU require a continuous and united effort. It is a noble inheritance, and 
the utmost sagacity and wisdom will be required to keep it unimpaired. With God's blessing 
vouchsafed as in the past it is possible. In an epoch when those who are least able to answer the 
question, ask cui bono at every turn, it was reserved to the Queen-Empress to make of the Throne 
the institution, which forms the chief link between England and the colonies and India, where of 
all our institutions it is the one most revered and most loved by the mass of the people. Institu- 
tions lose vitality or gain it, not so much by their intrinsic merits or demerits, as by the character 
b£ the persons who work them. The Queeu not only leaves to her descendants a great Empire, 
but the invaluable example of the means by which the Throne can be endeared to subjects among 
whom we count every variety of creeds and races." 

Period the Eleventh. — 1891 to 1901. 

The diaoTission of the causes which have effected a reduction of 45,758 in the population 
of the Island during the final period, with which this survey deals, rightly belongs to the Census 
Report proper of 1901. It wiU suffice, therefore, to remark that the deci'ease is in general due 
to the presence in the city for five years of an extraordinary and very virulent disease, which 
has so far defied all attempts to hold it in control. Any inducements to immigration or settle- 
ment, which, from the point of view of the public, may have been afforded by the improvement 
of communications, by the improvement of drainage, for which the Municipal Corporation 
sanctioned an outlay ofRs. 8,24,330 in 1894-95, by the promotion of philanthropic schemes, 
such as that of Mr. Framji Dinsha Petit, or that of the Memon gentleman who offered two lakhs 
of rupees for the establishment of an orphanage and asylum for poor Mahommedans, by the 
foundation of technical schools, such as that for sheet-metal working and enamelling in the 
Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute at Byculla, or by the numerical increase of mills and 
factories —any inducements of this nature have been more than counterbalanced by the extreme 
need for emigration, arising from the annual recurrence of a fatal malady. It is not our part to 
enter into the history or details of plague-attacks and plague-administration, upon which an 
almost incalculable quantity of mental energy, money and time have already been expended.; 
nor is there need in this portion of our report to trace the influence of the disease upon this or 
that area, or upon definite classes of our population. 

Speaking generally, it may be said that, since that fatal day in 1896, when, as the 
Press remarked, " what is supposed to be bubonic plague has made its appearance upon a 
portion of the Port Trust estate, inhabited by natives," the disease has operated adversely upon 
the numerical strength of the city and island in several distinct ways. Firstly, it has slain the 
people like sheep, raising the death-rate at some seasons, and notably in the opening months 
of 1897, to four times its normal figure ; secondly, it has led to a huge exodus of the population, 
especially in the opening months of each year ; thirdly, it has paralysed business and disorganized 
trade, which under ordinary circumstances must inevitably have attracted fresh arrivals j 
fourthly, it has swallowed huge sums of money, which would undoubtedly have been spent in 
fair years upon various improvements, tending to provide for and to attract fresh accretions 
of population. To take one example only, the expenditure incurred by the Bombay Municipality 
upon plague operations, from the commencement of the disease up to the 18th August 1899, 
totalled to 38,61,000 rupees ! Turning to the subject of trade, one discovers the average 
triennial value of exports and imports together fallen from 66 crores in 1890-92 to 63 crores in 
1895-97 ; the exports of wheat fallen from 424,000 tons in 1890-92 to 77,000 tons in 1895-97, 
and by 1900 to 30 tons, the latter decline being due in great measure to the prevalence of 
famine. The exports of other kinds of grain also show a considerable decrease. 

The mill-industry has suffered severely, both from plague and from improvident 
management. The year 1897 witnessed an universal flight of mill-operatives from the Island, 
open bidding for labour at the street-corners, and the shattering of the tie hitherto 
binding the employer and employed ; and no sooner had this trouble been minimised 
by the growing confidence of an industrial population, which felt that the chance of dying 
of plague in the city, while in receipt of a fair wage, was preferable to the prospect of starvation in 
up-country homes, than the agents of our local industry had to face the inevitable consequences 
of over-production. Between 1891 and 1898 the total number of factories in the island rose 
from 89 to 136, the increase being mainly due to the construction and opening of new mills j 
and this had taken place, despite the belief that a fall in silver had exercised an adverse 
influence upon the trade, despite the fact that the China market— the true outlet for Bombay's 
production— was being rapidly glutted. In 1899 the position of the industry was, in the words 
of Sir George Cotton,. " most critical ; " by the end of that year nearly all mills were closed 
for three days in the week and some were wholly idle. In 1901 the position of many a mill is 
precarious, and the salvation of the industry is still unconfirmed. 



The year 1897 was one of sorrow, not for Bombay alone, but for the whole continent ; 
and Sir Allan Arthur, speaking at Calcutta of the plague, famine, earthquake, cyclone, rioting, 
sedition and frontier warfare, which had darkened the political and financial horizon, 
characterised that year as the blackest in the whole history of India. In one week only of that 
year 10,000 persons fled from the island of Bombay ; and the condition of the city seemed to ap- 
proximate to that of Constantinople in the sixth century, when, according to Procopius, thousands 
of persons died within three months at the seat of Government. In 1898 occurred plague-riots 
and a strike of Dock and Railway labourers and cartmen, which produced a week's paralysis of 
trade. The early months of 1899 were marked by a fresh exodus of inhabitants ; the death-rate 
of later months was augmented by an influx of famine-stricken and diseased paupers. Matters 
improved not a whit in 1900, and in the present Year of Grace ; for with the passing of the winter 
months, the epidemic again swept through the city, and the people fled from the unseen death. 
On the 1st March 1901, the census was taken of a population, thinned by five years' disease, and a 
■considerable portion of which was scattered over districts remote from the Island. 

That our population has not decreased to a larger extent, considering the anxieties and 

ravages which it has suffered, must strike every mind as astonishing. The result is, perhaps, due 

to the recuperative powers, which Bombay as a young city possesses, and to the extraordinary 

prestige and influence which she exercises over both the western presidency and other regions 

beyond her own sphere of administration. She is to India, as Dr. Gerson da Cunha has remarked, 

what Paris is to la belle patrie, what Alexandria is to Egypt ! Apart from those hopes for 

-the future, which are based solely upon her geographical position or commercial relations, her past 

history bids us take heart, and induces a belief that the chastisement of these years may yet prove a 

blessing in disguise. 

" There is some soul of goodness in things evil 

Would men observingly distil it out, " 

Once before, during the period of British occupation, the popuMion of the Island was seri- 
ously diminished. The closing years of the seventeenth century were as disastrous as the closing 
years of the nineteenth ; the public health has in our day been as seriously undermined as in the 
■days when Ovington buried his shipmates, and Sir Nicholas Waite appealed to the Company for 
succour. The Island was visited in 1896 by a storm, which did considerable damage to house- 
property, and brings to mind the hurricane of that early period of decline, which " destroyed not 
only the growing crops, but also wredced a large portion of the local marine." As the people 
•of those days succumbed to " putrid and malignant fevers " or '' the Chinese death ", so the native 
population of these latter years has succumbed to a pestilence, as grievous as that which swept 
through Florence in 1348 or through old London in the time of Defoe. And yet, as we have 
previously had occasion to remark, the troubles of the years prior to 1718 produced no lasting 
effect upon the Island or upon the size of its population : for, by the year 1744, Bombay had 
advanced in material prosperity, and the number of her inhabitants had swelled to 70,000. May 
we not hope that history will repeat itself, that the plague will be stayed, and that our population 
will not only regain lost ground, but rise to a higher figure than has yet been recorded ? Mean- 
while, we should bear in mind that the city cannot afford dwelling- room for many more than 
crowd together at present in her tenements, and that inducement should therefore be offered 
towards the colonisation of the northern regions of the Island. The people are in no wise un- 
willmg to go further afield ; the tendency to settle in localities like Mahim and Sion has of late 
years become more apparent. Corild one only be sure "that improved communications, that electric 
traction fhrough Sewri, Parel, Sion, Mahim and Matunga, would be carried into swift execution, 
then might one prophecy with greater determination regarding ^e great city of the future, and 
an increased popolation, worthy of the capital of Western India. Steady adherence to the 
doctrine of " Deeds, not words " will effect much, will help towards the further ooloniMtion of 
those portions of the island, which are by nature fitted to form part of the city, towards the wider 
and more wholesome distribution of a commercial and industrial community. 

That the plague may in after time prove to have been an indirect source of benefit to the 
public of Bombay, we deem in no wise impossible : and indeed there are even now discernible 


signs that its attacks have not been an absolutely unmixed evil. The need for some systematic 
improvement of the city must have possessed the minds of men for many years ; but it seems 
doubtful whether the general desire for sanitary reformation and improvement would have been 
■carried without delay to a practical issue, unless epidemics in the crowded wards had emphasised 
the crying necessity for regeneration of the city. The terrible fate of Mandvi and similar 
localities must have sunk deep into the minds of those, in whose charge lies the welfare of the 
island, and have urged them towards the formulation of that elaborate scheme of improvement, 
of which we see to-day the outward manifestation in the City Improvement Trust. In a little 
time that " new Bombay, " which a late Governor so earnestly desired, will be perfected for the 
lasting benefit of posterity ! 

A second most fortunate legacy of the plague is the wider mutual acquaintance, now 
-existing, betwixt the official classes and the people, coupled with the presence in the city of a 
body of men, who are prepared to work gratuitously for Government, and to act in seasons of 
difficulty and distress as mediators between them and the uneducated masses. This condition 
of affairs has not been arrived at without trouble ; distrust and sullen obstinacy were at first rife, 
and culminated in the plague-riots of 1898. But the city is less impatient now of the actions 
of " the Sirkar," recognises more fully that the orders of the official, be he Military officer or 
doctor, are directed towards the common weal. In the diffusion of milder feelings, of under- 
standing in regard to the limitations which commend themselves to either party, the company 
•of gentlemen volunteers has played no unimportant part. Ever since the day when Lord 
Sandhurst convened a meeting of the Justices of the Peace, and asked them, as the modern 
representatives of a body which had worked so loyally for Government in old times, to aid in the 
campaign against sickness and death, the community of volunteers has steadily carried out its 
self-imposed duties ; and thus, when a Supreme Government ordered that the people should be 
numbered, there stood ready to support the Census Department a band of citizens, intimately 
acquainted with the dark corners of the city, and eager to work as heralds, as advisers, as 
mediators between the census staff and the populace. The spectacle of good citizenship and 
self-abnegation, which the census week presented, will not lightly be forgotten by him who 
witnessed it : — the spectacle of men, who might so easily have declined an arduous undertaking 
on the plea of commercial, professional, or private business, toiling through the worst portions 
of the city, cajoling and exhorting the people, utiliang their private dependents upon govern- 
ment work, keeping open house for the census staff, in order to lighten their labours, and provid- 
ing them with rooms for the revision of their schedules, guarding the threatened health of 
individual members of the staff by prescription and gratuitous supply of medicine, relegating, in a 
word their personal convenience and private wishes wholly and entirely to the background! 
So long as Bombay can count among her numbers men who maintain so worthy and so 
practical an idea of their duty towards her, she cannot, in spite of her adversities, be considered 
unfortunate ! 

And so here has the time come for us to close the tale. The Silahara chieftain, old 
Bimb Kaja of Devgiri, the Mussulman, the '' Portugal," Gerald Aungier, Mountstuart Elphin- 
stbne Bartle Frere, these and many another, ere passing out by '' the coulisses of time," left 
their'mark upon the land, and contributed, in greater or less degree, to the fame and beauty of a 
city, which justly claims to be called "a precious stone set in the silver sea." There is hope 
that she will grow more beautiful • that the shadows which now brood in the background will 
vanish ; and that, as the years pass, the Island of Bombay will be linked by still closer bonds of 
affection and obedience to that parent land, which, like herself, is encompassed by the Ocean